JOINT BASE SAN ANTNOIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
Seventeen San Antonio civic and business leaders were inducted into the 433rd Airlift Wing's Honorary Commanders Program, April 6, 2019, during a ceremony at a San Antonio hotel.
The ceremony, hosted by Col. Terry W. McClain, 433rd Airlift Wing commander, is a time-honored tradition, signifying the relationship between the military and civilian communities.
The honorary commanders program is an executive-level program intended as a forum in which the Alamo Wing commanders can solicit advice and support from civic leaders on matters affecting military and civilian communities, while reinforcing the already strong ties between the 433rd AW and the San Antonio community.
“I want to say thank you to all of the honorary commanders for taking time out of their busy schedules to committing to being a part of our program,” McClain said. “The Reserve Citizen Airmen of the Alamo Wing are looking forward to each of you learning about their contributions in protecting our country. We also look forward to continuing in strengthening the important bond between the military and civilian sector in Military City USA.”
One inductee, Roy Elizondo, went on a civic leader tour to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in 2017. It was his first experience with the Alamo Wing and it proved to be a deciding factor in becoming an honorary commander.
“I am very honored and privileged,” the treasurer of the Fair Oaks Ranch Municipal Development District said. “I am enthusiastic about what this program’s trying to do as far as trying to integrate the Air Force community into the rest of the community.”
Each of the Alamo Wing's honorary commanders is matched with a senior leader from within the wing. During the year, the civilian and military counterparts become acquainted at social and professional events. This allows the community leaders to understand the importance of the Reserve Citizen Airmen and the nation’s airlift mission. In turn, giving military leaders a better understanding and appreciation of the community in which they live.
During the ceremony, each honorary commander participated in a reenactment of an official military change of command ceremony. Group and squadron commanders presented the honorary commanders with an Air Force commander's insignia pin. The commander's insignia is awarded to any Air Force officer who holds a squadron command or higher billet in the United States Air Force.
Elizondo’s community, Fair Oaks Ranch, abuts Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, a training area on the north side of San Antonio that is used extensively by the military.
“Camp Bullis is a very integral part of my city and we feel like there is a definite connection there because the whole military mission is very comprehensive, it needs all the pieces working together to make sure that the people that are serving get the support they need for their families,” he said.
“I think making sure I fully understand the mission that the 433rd is doing and how it fits into everything that’s happening in the military and locally,” Elizondo said. “We need to make sure that the military is provided the right amount of support.”
Elizondo, whose son serves in the active duty Air Force, is looking forward to his tenure as an honorary commander working with Chief Master Sgt. Shana C. Cullum, 433rd AW command chief.
“I look forward to doing a lot of learning and finding ways that I can contribute, get to know my fellow honorary commanders and the Air Force personnel to make that happen,” Elizondo said.
While only 17 of this year's Alamo Wing honorary commanders participated in this ceremony, there are 23 positions in all. The missing honorary commanders will participate in an induction ceremony at a later date.
The 2019 honorary commanders inducted this month include:
Tommy Calvert, precinct 4 commissioner, Bexar County
Andrew Camplen, state assistant adjutant, Department of Texas Headquarters, Veterans of Foreign Wars-Post 688, Gold Legacy Life Member
Bill Dante, co-owner, Dante Klar Media Group
Bill Drain, owner and operator, Backstage Attractions
Roy Elizondo, council member, Fair Oaks Ranch City Office
Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, state representative, Texas District 120
Paula Gold-Williams, president and chief executive officer, CPS Energy
Bertha Gonzaba, regional director, Starbucks Coffee Company
David Hennessee, Immediate Past Board chair, San Antonio Area Foundation
Robert Imler, community and government relations consultant, self-employed
Andrea Knight, assistant vice president-financial center manager, Frost Bank
John Leal, director, local government relations-external relations, CPS Energy
Ron Nirenberg, mayor, City of San Antonio
Kevin Pierce, vice president and general manager, Way Engineering Ltd.
Don Preecs, attorney, KCI, Acelity L.P. Inc.
Clay Richmond, vice president, JSWC, Ltd.
Javier Salazar, sheriff, Bexar County
Ben Swaney, owner, The Prestigious Mark
Darrell Taylor, vice president, loss and prevention security, H-E-B Grocery Company
John Thurman, broker/owner and founder, Heart of Texas Realty
Craig Veltri, chairman and founder, Veltri Interests, Inc. dba Office Resource Center
Rich Weimert, director of baseball operations, San Antonio Missions
Steve Young, vice president of information technology, VIA Metropolitan Transit.