Kirtland strengthens community ties through Honorary Commander’s Program

  • Published
  • By Sheridan Fidelman
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Kirtland’s wing and group commanders and their honorary commanders convened at Kirtland Aug. 30, 2023 for the inaugural honorary commander event since Col. Michael Power, 377th Air Base Wing commander assumed command on June 20.

The United States Air Force has a vital role in establishing and maintaining personal connections with local civic leaders. This is done to enhance public awareness of the Air Force's mission, policies, and programs, as well as to foster a deeper understanding of the Department of Defense. The overarching objective is to collaborate with members of the local community while acquainting them with the Kirtland AFB mission.

Power expressed his gratitude for the gathering, emphasizing its impact and significance in strengthening ties with the local community. He stated, "This program and today's event are all about bringing us together with local leaders to bolster a sense of community, improving those relationships and continuing to build robust partnerships.”

Throughout the event, honorary commanders gained insight into the 377th’s mission through presentations from wing leadership, the wing legal team, and the protocol office. The gathering also gave wing leadership the opportunity to “re-blue” the honorary commanders who had not had the opportunity to come out to the installation in quite some time. Oneika Banks, 377th Public Affairs and the event's emcee, shed light on its significance: "The term, 're-bluing,' is part of our Air Force culture. Blue is not only in our uniforms, shields, and Air Force emblem; it's the color of the skies we navigate. When [someone] joins the Air Force, they learn what it means to be an Airman, how they contribute to the mission, and they focus on developing their technical skills and experience. Over time, challenges may dull our focus.”

Banks goes on to say, “Surprisingly, 're-bluing' is also a term in gunsmithing, describing the process of enhancing the appearance and functionality of firearms. Similarly, as Airmen and honorary Airmen, we hope to sharpen and refocus our relationships, building a solid foundation for our community and nation."

The honorary commanders currently participating in the program were carefully chosen to fortify the bond between the base and the community. This bond is strengthened through the exchange of ideas, greater comprehension of Kirtland’s mission, and advocacy for mutually advantageous initiatives. Each honorary commander is paired with a wing or group commander, offering opportunities to familiarize themselves with the specific unit's mission and Kirtland Air Force Base as a whole.