JOINT BASE CHARLESTON S.C. –
Joint Base Charleston welcomed 32 new Honorary Commanders during an Induction Ceremony April 13, at the Air Base Club. The Charleston Honorary Commanders Program was developed to encourage an exchange of ideas and experiences between Charleston’s community and military leaders. The program provides a unique opportunity for Charleston civics to shadow military commanders across the installation.
“It is beneficial for us to get matched with civilian leaders so we can share experiences and knowledge about our different missions as well as their role within the community,” said Col. Jeff Nelson, commander of the 628th Air Base Wing. “Whether they are a business or a civic leader, they will give us a better understanding about how we can work together as part of the community.”
The mission of the program is to increase public awareness and understanding of the Joint Base Charleston mission, policies and programs within the base, the local area and surrounding communities. The Honorary Commander program fosters goodwill, understanding, support and acceptance from Lowcountry leaders and community members.
“I am looking forward to connecting with Joint Base Charleston and my commander,” said Shawn Edwards, Citadel, Chief Diversity Officer and Honorary Commander for the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. “We have already met a few times and exchanged some ideas on challenges we are experiencing and how we can help each other.”
The 32 new incoming honorary commanders join four returning Honorary Commanders for the 628th Air Base Wing and base mission partners. Over the past year, the program has created 20 new positions for squadron level commanders, expanding the program significantly.
“There were a lot of community members interested in the Honorary Commander program,” said Col. Nelson. “So we opened up the program to squadron level commanders to pair up as many civilian leaders as we could.”
Part of Air Mobility Command’s mission is strengthening the partnership between active duty, guard, reserve and civilian workforces, so they can work together to execute the air mobility mission around the world. The Honorary Commander program helps leaders from the community understand the joint base mission and encourages other members of the community to get involved.
“I am looking forward to mostly interacting with the military and being their voice to the outside world,” said Mark Bell, CEO of Atlantic Heating and Air and Honorary Commander for the 437th Aerial Port Squadron. “I am more so invested in the Airmen’s development than my own career. I am at the end of my career, so it’s more of how can I be a mentor for the service members I come in contact with.”