Meet the SBD 1 Commander: Q&A with Col. Hanson

  • Published
  • By Paul Honnick
  • Space Base Delta 1

U.S. Space Force Col. David Hanson, Space Base Delta 1 commander, sat down for an interview with U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Aaron Edwards, SBD 1 public affairs specialist, July 26, 2022. Hanson, who assumed command of SBD 1 on July 11, discussed his space background, his leadership philosophy and his view about pineapple on pizza. The full interview continues below:

Airman 1st Class Aaron Edwards: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Col. David Hanson: I'm Colonel David Hanson, the commander of Space Base Delta 1, which is the largest installation support organization in the United States Space Force. We run and operate seven installations worldwide; that's roughly half of the U.S. Space Force installations.

What excites you about being the Space Base Delta 1 commander?

It's the people; it's the people who make SBD 1 operate. I look forward to working with all of the professionals, both here in the Front Range, and at all of our installations worldwide, as part of SBD 1. It's the people who make the mission happen.

What is your leadership style or philosophy?

Three words: trust, delegate and support. I trust each and every one of you to do your jobs. You wouldn't be in your positions if you didn't know how to do your jobs. I will also delegate. I can't do your jobs. I don't want to do your jobs because you will do it much better than I will, but I'll be your biggest supporter. If you need something, you just need to work through your chain of command and ask. Between me and Chief Master Sgt. Balkuvvar, [SBD 1 command chief], we will support you.

Where are you from?

I'm from a relatively small town in northern Illinois called Gurnee. Those of you from the Midwest might know that town. It's the home of the Six Flags Great America amusement park, which was placed in my hometown many years ago. It’s halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago to the mile. That's where I spent many of my teenage summers hanging around in Great America.

Tell us a bit about your family.

I’ve been married to my wife, Mary, for 24 years. We have four children, ranging from ages 27 down to 12. Two of them are still in the house and two of them are out on their own. Three of them are going to college right now, and our youngest will be a seventh-grader this year.

What has been your favorite military assignment and why?

I don't have a favorite assignment because they've all been great in one way, shape or form, but if you ask my family, they loved Guam. We lived in Guam from 2004 to 2006, when I was the commander of the satellite tracking station out there. Quite frankly, they loved it because the kids got to wear shorts and t-shirts to school every day of the year. It also wasn't a bad place to do some scuba diving. We lived and worked on a tropical island.

What are three words that best describe you?

Well, some folks would think I'm serious, and I am serious, but that's because I'm dedicated to the people and the mission. I think about how we can help them and improve our missions every single day. Once you get to know me, I'm a pretty fun guy. If we haven't laughed together as a group in a long time, then I'll be the first one to tell a really bad dad joke to get the laughter going. So yes, serious, but dedicated. And certainly full of fun.

If you could compete in one Olympic sport, what would it be?

My wife could answer this one and I’d agree with her – it's probably swimming; some kind of swimming event. I grew up as a competitive swimmer from early childhood, and even today, I enjoy swimming. I don't compete anymore, however, a good workout is going to the pool and swimming some laps. I actually enjoy watching swimming events when the Olympics happen, and although it's not me anymore, I wouldn't mind competing in a swimming event.

So, pineapple on pizza-yay or nay?

Pineapple on pizza? Well, I'll answer it this way: I do like pizza a lot. So you give me a piece of pizza with pineapple on it, I'm going to eat it, but I wouldn't order it myself.

What are two words that describe SBD 1?

It's “One Team,” and I'll tell you what that means. One team means that we are one organization with seven installations. So, if something happens at one installation, then maybe the answer is to pick up the phone. Phone a friend because those friends are part of your team and our Space Base Delta 1 family. We need to reach out and support others, even if they're not our installations.

What is one thing you want everyone at Space Base Delta 1 to know?

I want everyone to know the impact they're making daily to global space operations and homeland defense missions. It's important to know that they're not just coming to work to turn a wrench or type on a keyboard; they're certainly making a difference in national security. The space operations that the United States relies on every single day, is happening here on our installations and our folks at Space Base Delta 1 are supporting those missions. Just realize the importance of what you do every single day, no matter what you do.