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Honorary commanders tour Air Force’s flagship medical center

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The medics of David Grant USAF Medical Center hosted an immersion tour for 17 honorary commanders June 9, showcasing the capabilities of the Air Force’s flagship medical center.

“You are in the house of miracles right now,” said Col. John Klein, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander, during the opening remarks of the tour. “This hospital is a microcosm of the installation. They have all the functions our wing has to generate aircraft except their weapon system is military medicine.”

David Grant USAF Medical Center provides a full spectrum of health care and patient-centered treatment to more than 500,000 beneficiaries within the San Francisco-Sacramento region. DGMC also provides postgraduate training programs in family medicine, radiology, surgery, dentistry, oral surgery and more.

The campus includes the Veteran Affairs Fairfield Outpatient Clinic, a clinical investigation facility, a community-supported Fisher House, the largest Hyperbaric Medicine chamber on the West Coast and the Armed Services Whole Blood Processing Laboratory.

“We heal heroes, we protect heroes and we train heroes,” said Col. Michael Higgins, 60th Medical Group commander. “We are part of the world’s most lethal and respected Air Force. Our heroes deserve a medical system that is the best on the planet.”

Honorary commanders – who are leaders and professionals in local business and government – toured several of DGMC’s medical facilities to include the En-Route Patient Staging Facility, laboratory, hyperbaric chamber, physical and occupational therapy facility, logistics warehouse, Clinical Investigations Facility and Fisher House II.

“Throughout my tenure as an honorary commander, I’ve had the opportunity to tour DGMC three separate times and I still experience areas and programs I’ve never seen before,” said Monte Hoover, Travis Regional Armed Forces Committee chairman and local business owner. “As a business leader, I’m always impressed with the quality of the individuals and the passion they have in their craft.”

The Honorary Commanders Program allows professionals from a variety of areas to partner with individual commanders to strengthen and foster the relationship between Travis and the local community.

The program serves to enhance civic appreciation of the need and value of the Air Force, to maximize opportunities to share the Air Force story and communicate that the Air Force and sister service partner leaders share mutual interests, concerns and challenges with civilian stakeholders.

The vast majority of those serving in the Honorary Commanders Program have little to no prior military experience. For many, the program serves as an opportunity to interact and witness the behind the scenes efforts needed to execute the installation’s rapid global mobility mission-set and support functions.

“The general public doesn’t always get to see the accomplishments and successes of Travis Air Force Base,” said Hoover. “As honorary commanders, we get to be the ambassadors within the community and share those accomplishments. Serving as an honorary commander has been an incredibly rewarding experience.”

City of Vacaville Fire Chief and newly inducted honorary commander, Kris Concepcion, echoed Hoover’s sentiments.

“Although new to the program, I have already had many positive experiences including tours of the installation’s facilities and interacting with my partner commander,” he said. “The program is important to me because it allows me to get families with Travis Air Force Base and the Air Force in general. This is vitally important because Travis plays such a big part in the City of Vacaville.”