Hilton takes command of USAFSAM

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Col. Alden Hilton took the reins of the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine from Col. Christian Benjamin, who is retiring after 30 years of service, during a change of command ceremony May 20 at USAFSAM.

"USAFSAM is an extremely high-performing organization, and under Benjamin's leadership as well as the previous commanders', there's a great legacy of doing wonderful things," Hilton stated. "This is a dream job because it's such a unique organization and it's had such strong leadership.

Hilton, who had been the school's deputy commander since July 2015, stated that his goals are to continue to grow the existing research, education and consultation missions; modernize the curriculum and delivery platforms where appropriate such as the availability of tablets for students and options for distance learning; and streamline the processes for consultation so that they are seamless for customers.

"What makes USAFSAM so unique is that it has education, consultation and research--all in the same organization," said Hilton. "Most of the questions during our consultations are easily answered, but the ones that are not--those drive research. And then the research drives our curriculum and education."

Hilton, whose office overlooks the historic Huffman Prairie where innovation and powered flight first took off in 1903, said that this interdependence of missions is what the school brings to the 711th Human Performance Wing and to the Air Force Research Laboratory.

"There is a beautiful symbiosis between USAFSAM's three functions and it all happens right here."

Hilton is the second commander since the school moved to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base from Brooks City Base in 2011 as part of the BRAC. He came to Wright-Patt in 2015 from his prior assignment as the 35th Medical Group commander in Misawa, Japan.

"We are coming upon USAFSAM's 100 year anniversary and very early on, it was designed as a research laboratory and a school for flight surgeons," said Hilton. "The research mission has matured since our move up from Brooks in 2011 and it's time to take it to the next level."