ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Altus community members and business leaders were appointed as Honorary Commanders during an induction ceremony held at the Wings of Freedom Park, Nov. 29, 2012.
“The Honorary Commander Program is all about the exchange of ideas, experiences and friendships between the local civilian community and the Altus military community,” said Kenny Scarle, 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs chief of civic outreach. “The Honorary Commanders will get to learn the ‘ins-and-outs’ of the world’s only C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker formal training facility, while in turn, the military commanders get a look into the civilian organizations and what they do.”
Honorary Commanders are chosen biannually by the 97th AMW commander.
“The program is just another example of the base opening its arms and gates to the community to share in the rich, time-honored traditions of the Air Force,” said Col. Anthony Krawietz, 97th AMW commander. “It also shows how the community continues to embrace service members and stay fully engaged for the long-run.”
During the Induction Ceremony, incoming commanders accepted their positions from Col. Krawietz, in a manner similar to that of a military change of command ceremony. After accepting, the honorary commanders participated in the 97th Operations Group formal retreat ceremony. New incoming Maintenance Directorate commander, Dr. Mark Haught, Principal of Altus High School, said he was impressed with the formality of the service and was honored to become a part of the program.
Dr. Haught is a member of the Altus Chamber of Commerce and the Altus Rotary Club, and said he is very excited about becoming a part of Team Altus.
“This is a great opportunity and I look forward to learning more about the Air Force and the Maintenance Directorate in particular, and bringing that knowledge back to the community,” Haught said.
The Honorary Commanders will be able to take part in quarterly events, along with participating in their respective unit’s events to be integrated into the team.
“We are planning a ‘boot camp’ for the new HCC’s, including physical training, learning Air Force customs and courtesies and the history of the Air Force,” Scarle said. “They will also be invited to join their military counterparts for an immersion of their workday—spending a day on base, shadowing their military commander as they perform their duties.”
Events like changes of command, retirement ceremonies and holiday events will also all be open to the Honorary Commanders.
“It’s really great to see new members of the program so excited to serve,” Krawietz said. “The 97th Air Mobility Wing appreciates the support and involvement in everything the local community does for the members of the Mighty 97th.”