Brig. Gen. Daniel Hughes began his first day as the Senior Commander at Natick Soldier Systems getting acclimated to the base, but make no doubt about it: he is excited about the opportunity to be in Natick and has some lofty goals that he expects to achieve while here.
"I'm honored and privileged to be here in Natick," Hughes said to a small contingent of media members just four hours into his first day in Natick.
Hughes entered the room smiling and asking everyone how they were doing and talking about the Bruins, but it didn't take long for him to show his passion for the things that are done at Natick Labs.
"We need to continue to invest in science and technology," said Hughes, who will split time in Aberdeen, MD as well. "Our civilian workforce is critical to the Army. I want to make this the best place in the Army to work. I want people here to smile and say, 'I've got a great place to work, I'm supporting soldiers.'"
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One reason Hughes originally joined the military was because of the Cold War, which was going on when he joined the Army in 1983. He said he never thought he'd be going into his 30th year in the military, though.
Another reason he entered the Army, and maybe more important, was he followed in his father's footsteps. His father was a career soldier who worked his way up to Colonel. Interestingly enough, Hughes' father was stationed at Fort Devens for part of his career while he was a kid. He attended Ayer High School and his wife grew up in Leominster.
Along those lines, and showing his Massachusetts roots, Hughes said the greatest hockey player he ever saw was Bobby Orr, and Carl Yastrzemski is the best baseball player he's ever seen.
"Having a base in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is great," Hughes said, noting Massachusetts is the birthplace of the Army. "This links us to the nation. It's critical to have a base here in New England. We're creating opportunities everyday. Bottom line- I see this place as a gem."