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Home : News : News
NEWS | Sept. 9, 2008

Wing welcomes 38 new, returning 'honorary' commanders

By Airman 1st Class Katie Hickerson 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Sept. 3 marked Randolph's eleventh year of opening its gates to local civic leaders in the communities surrounding Randolph with an annual Honorary Commander Reception. 

Thirty eight honorary commanders attended the hail and farewell reception held at the officers club. 

The program pairs local civic leaders with military commanders in similar career fields. Honorary commanders range from elected city officials to medical doctors, pastors and judges to business directors and presidents. 

"This has been a fun and rewarding program. Being retired military, it's given me a link to the active duty Air Force and let me experience a little of what life is like in the 562nd Flying Training Squadron," Harold Baldwin, City of Schertz mayor and honorary commander of 11 years said. "This program allows all of us to get to know each other and our military counterparts at Randolph. I've met many outstanding young officers and commanders and had the privilege to see how the Air Force and Navy come together to work as a team to accomplish their mission." 

The purpose of the honorary commanders program is to increase public awareness and understanding of the armed forces and the missions, policies, programs and people of the 12th Flying Training Wing. It also helps commanders keep a pulse on community concerns. 

Michael Briggs, 12th FTW public affairs chief, explained the honorary commander program was started 11 years ago to improve an already outstanding relationship between the base and surrounding communities. 

"Our goal is to enhance our knowledge of the civilian community, while at the same time promoting a free exchange of ideas between base and community leaders," Mr. Briggs said. 

Randolph welcomed 15 new leaders to be part of the honorary commanders program and said goodbye to the seven who departed. 

"Community support has always been important to the Air Force, especially to those of us at Randolph," said Col. Jacqueline Van Ovost, 12th FTW commander, who hosted the reception. "Our mission doesn't go anywhere without the full engagement of our Airmen. Our neighboring communities open up their churches, businesses, schools and even homes to meet our unique needs. Randolph is truly fortunate to have such a longstanding, positive relationship with each of our communities because of the trust we have built." 

Over the next year, Randolph's military commanders will invite their honorary commanders to attend unit functions, dinners, receptions and other events and the honorary commanders will do the same for their counterparts. 

"This has certainly been an interesting experience for me," Mayor Baldwin said. "I'm looking forward to another great year."