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Honorary Commander, Golden Knight Program connects base to community

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 19th Airlift Wing hosted an Honorary Commander Induction Ceremony Feb. 26 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

The Honorary Commander Program is a community outreach effort to continue building partnerships between local civic leaders and Team Little Rock.

Not only were nine new members welcomed into the program, but two honorary commanders were inducted into a new program — The Golden Knights.

“This was created to honor the Honorary Commanders with longevity in the program who have consistently demonstrated their commitment and support to LRAFB,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy McGuffin, while narrating the Honorary Commander Induction Ceremony. “Golden Knights will engage as a mentor to incoming honorary commanders — instilling in them the significance of community partnerships and how that positively impacts Airmen and their mission accomplishment.”

Each honorary commander is invited to participate in various installation and unit events, as well as holding other responsibilities in order to be a proactive supporter of the unit for which they are an Honorary Commander — as well as Team Little Rock, he explained.

According to Col. John Schutte, 19th Airlift Wing and instillation commander, the overall goal for this program is to increase public awareness and understanding of the military while simultaneously allowing military members to appreciate the robust support of community partners.

“What I've most enjoyed about the Honorary Commander Program is the opportunity to interact with the base personnel on a more one-on-one basis,” said Tom Bartole, former 314th Operations Group honorary commander who was inducted into the Golden Knights Program. “The honorary commander immersion tours have given me better insight of the operations of the base and what our service men and women do on a daily basis. The program has also given me the opportunity to travel with base personnel to other installations and to fly on a C-130 — allowing me to be an informed ambassador for the men and women of Team Little Rock. I like to stay involved when I can with base events and this program affords me that opportunity.”

The Jacksonville area has been home to Little Rock AFB for the past 65 years. The community has prioritized fostering a strong relationship between the base and the local community to be responsive to Airmen and families' needs.

“With or without a platform like the Honorary Commander Program, our Airmen and their families are a part of our surrounding communities,” Schutte said. “They live in the towns around base, purchase goods and services from area stores, and go to local schools and community churches. This allows us the chance to bring the community inside the gates.”

The Little Rock AFB Honorary Commander Program provides an avenue to build upon relationships through mutual support and involvement. The program highlights LRAFB’s continued efforts to cultivate partnerships between Airmen, their families, and the local community working together on areas of shared interest and concern.

“We are excited to open our gates to our neighbors who support our mission every day and share what the Air Force – and specifically Team Little Rock – brings to our national defense,” Schutte said.

 

2020 Honorary Commander Program members:

Brad West – Golden Knight

Tom Bartole-Golden Knight

Denise Goforth – Honorary 19th Airlift Wing Commander

Rob Roedel – Honorary 19th Airlift Wing Vice Commander 

Dr. Bryan Duffie – Honorary 19th Airlift Wing Command Chief

Gina Radke – Honorary 19th Maintenance Group Commander

John Owens – Honorary 19th Operations Group Commander

Chad Aduddell – Honorary 19th Medical Group Commander

William Gerald Jones – Honorary 19th Healthcare Operations Squadron Commander

Courtney Dunn – Honorary 19th Mission Support Group Commander

Chip Culpepper – Honorary 314th Airlift Wing Commander

Tony Pardew – Honorary 314th Airlift Wing Vice Commander

Daniel Bryant – Honorary 314th Airlift Wing Command Chief

Shash Goyal – Honorary 314th Maintenance Group Commander

Danna Kay Duggar – Honorary 314th Airlift Wing Historian

Dr. Margaret Ellibee – Honorary 189th Airlift Wing Commander

Lorenzo Lewis – Honorary 189th Airlift Wing Command Chief

Cindy Doramus – Honorary 913th Airlift Group Commander

John Selva – Honorary 29th Weapons Squadron Commander

Jason Carson – Honorary 714th Training Squadron Commander

Frank Lawrence – Honorary 34th Combat Training Squadron Commander