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JBSA News
NEWS | April 18, 2024

Sixteenth Air Force inducts five civic leaders into inaugural program

By Matthew McGovern Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber)

Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) welcomed five civic leaders from across the San Antonio area during the first-ever Sixteenth Air Force Civic Leader Induction Ceremony held at the Bernard A. Larger Auditorium at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on  April 1. 

The program pairs civic leaders with commanders across the NAF for a two-year term to forge mutually beneficial relationships, strengthen bonds with the community, increase military involvement in civic endeavors, and provide a better understanding of the Sixteenth Air Force missions.

During the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber) commander, inducted five civic leaders with diverse experience from a broad cross-section of the community:

  • Sixteenth Air Force (AFCYBER) Civic Leader - Dr. Taylor Eighmy, President of the University of Texas at San Antonio
  • 67th Cyberspace Wing - The Honorable Peter Sakai, Bexar County Judge
  • 688th Cyberspace Wing - Dr. Cliff Zintgraff, Chief Learning Officer for San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology
  • 960th Cyberspace Wing - Gilbert Gitiche, Executive Vice President and Chief Audit Executive, United Services Automobile Association
  • 616th Operations Center - Dr. Kara Allen, Chief People, Impact & Belonging Officer for San Antonio Spurs

“The key to defending our nation is the tie between the civic leaders, our military, and the population and to make sure they understand each other,” Kennedy said. “We look for our honorary commanders to provide opportunities for our Airmen to engage the community and our Airmen to provide opportunities for our honorary commanders to engage the base.”  

The program immerses civic leaders into military culture. As such, they participated in the tradition of the passing of their assigned unit’s flag signifying their role as an “honorary member” of the organization.

Sixteenth Air Force will rely on the community leaders to provide support to Airmen and their families, and share industry and technical knowledge to maintain competitive advantage in the protection of our nation, said Kennedy.

To close out the ceremony, Senior Master Sgt. Martez Blair, Sixteenth Air Force (AFCYBER) first sergeant, discussed the importance of the civic leader's relationship to the force.

“Our Airmen are the backbone of everything we do and I’m excited to see how [our civic leaders] will interact with them and understand how they answer our nation’s call,” said Blair. “I too encourage you all to be proactive and supportive of your new units and advocate for our Airmen and our families, because they need you.”

During their tenure, the civic leaders will learn about the command’s various missions by attending various base ceremonies and events. The relationship will also serve as an interface for civic leaders to exchange ideas and assist as advisors and advocates for Sixteenth Air Force initiatives.

Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber), headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, focuses on information warfare in the modern age.  Information Warfare requires integrating: Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance; Cyber Warfare; Electromagnetic Warfare; Weather; Public Affairs; and Information Operations capabilities. Sixteenth Air Force ensures that our Air Force and Nation are fast, resilient, and fully integrated in competition, crisis, and conflict by incorporating Information Warfare at operational and tactical levels, capitalizing on the value of information by leading the charge for uniquely 21st-century challenges in the highly dynamic, seamless, and global information domain.