Thanks, 388 FW Honorary Commanders

  • Published
  • By Andrea V. Mason
  • 388th Fighter Wing
The 388th Fighter Wing welcomed three civic leaders Jan. 12 as honorary commanders in a change of command ceremony at Club Hill.

Through the honorary commanders program, civic and corporate leaders gain insight into base operations, by working and socializing with Air Force and civilian personnel. As a result, the program binds community relations between Hill Air Force Base and the surrounding communities.

"This ceremony lays the foundation for the beginning of what we hope to be a positive and growing relationship between the 388th Fighter Wing and our local community leaders," said Col. Scott Long, 388 FW commander, during his opening remarks.

Following dinner, the three military commanders ceremoniously passed the guidon from their outgoing honorary commanders to the incoming.

The incoming honorary commanders include: Syracuse Mayor Jamie Nagle, 388th Equipment Maintenance Squadron; Karen Burnett, 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; and Kearston Cutrubus, 388th Maintenance Operations Squadron.

Following the guidon passing, the 388th FW commander designated Karen Von Colln, 388th Operations Support Squadron, as the lead honorary commander. In this role, she will be responsible for serving as a mentor to the incoming honoraries, and maintaining a strong connection between them and the alumni honorary commander group, the Falcons.

The outgoing honorary commanders included: Weston Saunders, 388th EMS; Mark Goddard, 388th AMXS; and Julie Knighton, 388th MOS. Each had an opportunity to talk about their experience as an honorary commander and thank the squadrons for the opportunity.

The three spoke highly of their experience and enjoyed reminiscing about the numerous events they attended. In short, it seemed their favorite part was getting to know the Airmen.

Saunders, who before the ceremony jokingly asked the wing commander what would happen if he just took the guidon and ran, emphasized what an honor it was to spend time with the squadron and learn about the Air Force.

"This has been an unforgettable experience," said Saunders. "The true honor, in honorary commander, is ours and lies in the act of service to those who make up the 388th Fighter Wing," he said.

Goddard said that it's difficult to surrender the camaraderie.

"Outside these (base)gates, it's all about business, but in here it's about family," he said. "That's what I'll miss most about my experience as an honorary commander."

Honorary commanders continuing their service are as follows: Rep. Brad Wilson, 388th FW commander; Stan Kaminski, 388th FW vice commander; Rep. Todd Kiser, 388th FW command chief; Brett Mills, 388th Maintenance Group; Dr. Brian Brzowski, 388th Operations Group; Vaughn Jacobson, 388th Range Squadron; Russell Maughan, 388th Component Maintenance Squadron; Michael Caldwell, 4th Fighter Squadron; Damon Kirchmeirer, 421st Fighter Squadron; and Dwight Baldwin, 729th Air Control Squadron.

Honorary commanders serve for two years, creating ties with the 388th FW and having active involvement with designated squadrons.