Military News

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reserve wing builds bonds with Alamo City

by Tech Sgt. Carlos J. Trevino
433rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/8/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- More than a dozen community leaders were inducted into the 433rd Airlift Wing Honorary Commanders Program at the Gateway Club on Lackland Air Force Base Nov. 3.

The Honorary Commanders Program pairs "Alamo Wing" leadership with local area business and civic leaders. The outreach program is designed to educate civilians about 433rd AW activities and most importantly, the Air Force Reserve and its vital role in the national defense. They meet periodically during their tenure for activities including luncheons, tours, orientation flights, and other special on- and off-base events.

"If you haven't been around the military much, the experience is gonna blow you away. It is absolutely awesome how much you learn from us and what we learn from you," said , in his welcome address to the inductees.

Lt. Col. John Martino, 733rd Training Squadron commander, will continue to work with his returning Honorary Commander Mark Frye, the Government Program Manager at Port San Antonio.

"Part of our connection is that both of us graduated from Ohio State, and both majored in geology. What is funny is when we got connected last year, we had no idea we would be connected," Martino said. "This is a great program. It is a win-win for the wing, for the community and for the honorary commanders. They learn more about what we do, and we get to give them feedback we don't receive otherwise. We can tell our story, and not from the commander' s standpoint. I am talking from the lowest ranking Airman. And that is where Mark likes to get involved,"  Martino said.

Bill Wilson, a new inductee, who is the director for the Texas Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Military Installations, is excited to be a part of the program.

"Being a part of this, even if it is honorary, is a great chance to engage in the side of the military that I don't know a lot about. I am interested in learning what the top commanders do all the way to the enlisted Airman are involved with at the 433rd.

Tino Duran, owner and publisher of two local bilingual newspapers, is also known as the godfather of Spanish media. For him, getting involved in the program is a great opportunity to share the Citizen Airmen experience.

"This program is going to provide an insight into what you do. Once I get into it, I want to write about it. I am praying this gives me a profound insight into what you do, then I can verbalize it in writing for the general public in San Antonio. I am looking forward to being part of the experience," Duran said.

"As a civilian you often don't get to see what the military is doing in their missions. It's exciting that we get know that and share it with our friends and family," said Gary Cram, president of a local roofing company that bears his name. "I am looking forward to fulfilling my oath," he said.

After a pinning-on ceremony, the group took an oath as honorary commanders.

"Those words mean a lot to us," said Col. Jeffrey T. Pennington, 433rd AW commander. "The burden of command carries a lot responsibility. This experience will blow you away when you see the men and women behind the operations and what they do, it will raise your confidence and your pride in knowing that this nation is well defended."

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