Dr. Brook Dickison, 17th Training Wing Honorary Commander

  • Published
  • By Sean Schroeder
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Dr. Brook Dickison, assistant professor in the department of curriculum and instruction at Angelo State University, is one of 22 distinguished community members taking part in the current iteration of the 17th Training Wing’s Honorary Commander Program at Goodfellow Air Force Base. 

As an ASU faculty member, she had some prior experience collaborating with members of the base community on a memorandum of understanding, which facilitated the partnership of the university’s Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. 

Created in 2020, the CTLE brings together members from Goodfellow AFB, Howard College, ASU and the San Angelo Independent School District.  It’s focused on promoting faculty development for educational professionals throughout the base and local community.

When the HCP opportunity came along in the fall of 2022, Dickison seized on it, since it provided an opportunity to become more integrated with the base community.   

“I was completely amazed by the idea of being immersed into Goodfellow,” said Dickison. She felt her understanding of the base was rather limited as someone “outside looking in.”  Dickison felt compelled to learn more. 

“Being involved in Goodfellow is near and dear to my heart,” Dickison said.

The HCP is designed to give emerging leaders in the local community a chance to learn more about the base, the Air Force, the Department of Defense and the training mission at Goodfellow. 

Since the induction ceremony in October of 2022, Dickison and her fellow Honorary Commanders have taken part in series of group immersions, military events, and social activities. 

One of the most memorable events for Dickison was attending Basic Military Training graduation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, on April 27, 2023. 

She accompanied 17th Training Wing commander, Col. Matthew Reilman, and acting 17th TRW command chief master sergeant, Chief Master Sgt. Lauren Brock. 

Dickison met with three Airmen from other countries whose passion for the United States propelled them towards a path of citizenship.    

“It was such an honor,” Dickison said.

Dickison recounted a meaningful encounter she had with Airman 1st Class Natalia Laziuk, from Russia, who talked about the intense situation in her home country.  She said Laziuk made quite an impression on her as she expressed her intense pride for becoming a U.S. citizen and serving in the Air Force. 

Dickison stated Laziuk struggled speaking English during their conversation, but said the Airman was motivated and committed to becoming fluent within a year. Dickison noted she was impressed and inspired by the Airman’s passion and commitment.    

Laziuk revealed to Dickison and other Honorary Commanders that none of her family were present for this special graduation moment. She and her fellow Honorary Commanders embraced the opportunity to be the Airman’s surrogate family, congratulating her during this momentous occasion.

Dickison stated she felt a close bond to Laziuk and did not hesitate to give her a hug when she asked for one. 

She recounted the excitement of the BMT graduation and the close connections she forged with Laziuk and the other Airmen touched her in a memorable way.   

“That hit me really hard, that experience…you’re not going to get that anywhere else,” Dickison said. “That will always stick in my mind as one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had.”

Dickison stated that her experience in the HCP has given her a deeper appreciation and respect for military members and their families. 

The HCP has reiterated to her the importance of Goodfellow within the San Angelo community and made her more aware of the things she and her fellow Honorary Commanders can do to support the base and the 17th Training Wing mission.

In a few weeks, Dickison and her fellow honorary commanders will participate in a graduation ceremony, ending their 12-month period in the program.  During the same event, a new group of local community members will be inducted into the 2023-2024 Honorary Commander Program. 

“I think it is an absolutely wonderful program,” Dickison said. “It really shows you the engagement between the base, the community…I feel like this is a program that was needed that no one knew we needed…I really believe in this program, and I hope I can help in the future.”