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NEWS | March 21, 2012

JB Charleston inducts new Honorary Commanders

By Rose Alexander Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Team Charleston inducted 35 community leaders into the 2012 Honorary Commanders Program in a ceremony at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base March 14. The day's events were co-hosted by Col. Richard McComb, Joint Base Charleston commander, and Col. Erik Hansen, 437th Airlift Wing commander.

"This program was initiated to extend a cross-flow of information and exchange of ideas between our military personnel and local civic leaders," said McComb. 

"The 437th AW looks forward to working with our Honorary Commanders and showcasing our Airmen and the mobility mission that the 437th AW executes which is critical to our nation's ability to support the joint warfighter and carry out peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations worldwide." said Hansen.

The Honorary Commanders Program, which was first implemented in 1999, was designed to foster support and encourage an exchange of ideas, experiences and friendship between key members of the local civilian communities and Charleston Air Force Base. After JB Charleston reached full operational capability in 2010, the program was expanded to also include commanders of Navy and Army mission partners located on the Weapons Station, making the program a Joint "Team Charleston" Honorary Commanders Program.

The program matches civic leaders with active-duty military commanders. Individuals are selected from throughout the Lowcountry and from various professions ranging from school administrators to business owners to religious leaders and elected officials.

The new Honorary Commanders' day began with welcome comments and briefings from McComb and Hansen. They then toured a C-17 Globemaster III, where they learned about the 437th AW mission, followed by a tour of the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosives Ordnance Unit where they also observed a 628th Security Forces Squadron working dog demonstration.

"We wanted to give the Honorary Commanders a better understanding of how we work together as a team with the 437th AW to accomplish our mission," said McComb.

After the demonstrations, honorees were transported to the Charleston Club, where they were greeted by their respective active-duty commanders who presented them with information packages and mementos from their units. McComb and Hansen also presented each of the new inductees with their respective wing mementos.

Prior to the start of the formal induction ceremony, McComb recognized the previous year's Honorary Commanders who were transitioning out of the program into the base Advisory Council. The Advisory Council was formed in 2003 and consists of approximately 80 members who have actively served two years in the program and have expressed a desire to continue their relationship with the base. He presented the new Advisory Council members with certificates and Dottie Karst, council president, presented them with an Honorary Commanders Advisory Council coin.

The thirty-five Honorary Commander inductees were then called on stage to take the Team Charleston Honorary Commanders Oath of Office, which was administered by McComb and Hansen.

"I had such an amazing time today and want to thank you from my heart for this opportunity," said Randall Goldman, Patrick Properties chief executive officer and 628th Contracting Squadron Honorary Commander. "My head hurts from trying to take in all I saw, heard and felt."

Sharon Sellers, SLS Consulting president and 437th Operations group Honorary Commander was just as enthused. "I just want to take the time to thank you, the commanders and your entire team, for a wonderful day. Thank you for the honor of being an Honorary Commander this year and for making the day so special."

The day culminated with a reception where the new Honorary Commanders were able to socialize and get to know other units' active-duty commanders as well as their fellow inductees.

"The new Honorary Commanders, along with our Advisory Council members, will be instrumental in sharing the Joint Base Charleston missions with our community," said McComb.