TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Seventeen members of the 552nd Air Control Wing’s Honorary
Commander’s Program gathered Sept. 28 for their quarterly meeting.
Hosting the gathering were the “Vikings” of the 960th
Airborne Air Control Squadron. Displays were set up in several of the squadron
offices and honorary commanders were briefed on various crew duties and
responsibilities. A static display tour of an E-3 Sentry aircraft closed out
the day’s activities.
“It was an honor to help host the 552nd ACW Honorary
Commanders and showcase the mission of the 552nd Operations Group,” said Lt.
Col. Kristen Thompson, 960th AACS commander. “The Airmen across the group take
great pride in supporting our command and control mission and in delivering air
dominance on behalf of our nation. It was exciting to see our biggest community
leaders and supporters enthusiastically engaging our Airmen and learning about
what we do. I know we all enjoyed displaying the personal and operational
excellence that are the hallmark of the 552nd Air Control Wing.”
Col. David Gaedecke, 552nd ACW commander, explained why
the wing supports this type of program.
“The honorary commander’s program provides a unique
partnership opportunity for the 552nd Air Control Wing and leaders from the
local community,” said Colonel Gaedecke. “The partnership promotes community
involvement that is mutually beneficial to our Airmen and the surrounding
Oklahoma State Sen. Stephanie Bice, District 22, is one of
three honorary commanders assigned to Colonel Gaedecke. Though the senator was
not aware of the program prior to her participation, she has taken her role as
an honorary commander seriously.
“This is a phenomenal experience for me,” said Senator
Bice. “I have learned a tremendous amount about how integral Tinker Air Force
Base, the 552nd Air Control Wing and the men and women who serve here are to
Oklahoma. It is truly an honor to participate in this program.”
Sharing Senator Bice’s comments is Kay Hughes, honorary
commander to Colonel Thompson.
“This is a phenomenal program. I’ve learned a lot,” said
Ms. Hughes. “These young people just amaze me at how bright, quick and
dedicated they are.”
Colonel Gaedecke emphasized the importance of programs
like the honorary commander’s program in cementing good relations between the
military and civilian communities.
“The ongoing relationships between unit commanders and
their respective honorary commanders help to improve the quality of life of our
Airmen,” Colonel Gaedecke said. “The honorary commanders are instrumental in
facilitating community programs that support many of our military members and
their families. Efforts like these strengthen our ties to the community and
build stability on the Homefront. We are lucky to have these civic leaders
invested in our Airmen’s well-being on and off-base.”