Mighty Medics welcome new commander

  • Published
  • By 55th Wing Public Affairs

The 55th Medical Group welcomed a new commander following a change of command ceremony at Offutt Air Force Base July 7, 2023.

Col. Tracy Bozung accepted the guidon from Col. Christopher Backus during the ceremony at the Warhawk Community Center.

Bozung comes to the Ehrling Bergquist Clinic from 16th Air Force, where she served as the command surgeon since July 2022.

“It is truly my honor to be your commander,” she said. “Command is my passion, and I feel genuine joy to be here today and at having the opportunity to shape the environment where we will accomplish the mission and where each of you grows both personally and professionally.”

The 55th MDG consists of four squadrons and more than 600 Airmen, including active duty, civilians and contractors. They manage a health care delivery system to more than 51,000 Department of Defense beneficiaries.

“I recognize that we’re in a time of great change,” Bozung said, highlighting the global power competition as well as a long list of changes within the Air Force medical community. “But the only way to grow is to change, so I ask you all to keep that in mind as they keep coming.

“But let me tell you what is not going to change and that is our sacred obligation to provide top quality medical care for the men and women who are the best on the planet and their families,” she added. “We will harness our relationships with each other and our civilian partners to optimize patient care and the readiness of the 55th Wing as a whole.”

The new commander is a 2000 graduate of the U.S Air Force Academy and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School and her Master of Public Health from Wright State University.

“We’re very glad to have you on our team,” said Col. Mark Howard, 55th Wing commander and presiding official. “As she likes to say, ’command is her jam,’ so I am looking forward to jamming with you. It’s going to be great.”

Backus leaves the Ehrling Bergquist Clinic for Hurlburt Field, Florida, where he will serve as the command surgeon for Air Force Special Operations Command.

“Mighty Medics, this nation is stronger for your work,” Backus said. “For each of us, our health is the most important thing, and you do your best to improve, sustain and support our health and by doing this you build our readiness.”

The outgoing commander also led the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth and Team Offutt through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and transitioned the group to the new Defense Health Agency as well as MHS Genesis.

“Despite the changes, transitions and global pandemic, Col. Backus ensured the quality and care of tens of thousands of people,” Howard said. “We are beyond grateful for all you’ve done. Thank you for caring for our Warhawks; it’s been nothing short of amazing.”

VIDEO | 39:58 | 55th Medical Group Change of Command