‘Vikings’ host 552nd ACW honorary commanders

  • Published
  • By Ron Mullan
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

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 area.”


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.”