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AZ Air Guard hosts Honorary Commander Induction Ceremony

Tinashe Machona

The 161st Air Refueling Wing Honorary Commanders pose on stage for a group photo during the Honorary Commanders Induction Ceremony here, Nov. 2. The inductees are the first Honorary Commanders for the base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Tinashe Machona)

Tinashe Machona

Col. Troy Daniels, 161st Air Refueling Wing commander, awards former congressman, Barry Goldwater as Honorary Commander Inductee for the wing, during a ceremony here, Nov. 2. The bases is named after the Goldwater family name. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Tinashe Machona)

Tinashe Machona

Lt. Col. Gabe Johnson, 161st Air Refueling Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, discusses the importance of the Honorary Commander Program with attendees of the ceremony, Nov. 2. During the ceremony, 14 Honorary Commanders were inducted. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Tinashe Machona)

GOLDWATER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz. --

Honorary Commanders were welcomed during an induction ceremony here, Nov. 2, as part of a two-year program that promotes base ambassadorship.

The purpose of the 161st Air Refueling Wing’s Honorary Commander Program is to educate community leaders about the Arizona Air National Guard and the Goldwater Air National Guard Base.

“It is a great opportunity for the base to host the Honorary Commander Program,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Geesling, the wing’s Medical Administrative Officer. He added that he is confident that the new Honorary Commanders will represent the base well in the community.

The ceremony was the first of its kind at the wing.

The program pairs leaders with specific units for the purposes of enhancing supportive community relationships, and increase military involvement in civic ventures and organizations.

During their two-year tenure, Honorary Commanders will being invited to multiple events, which will allow them to meet installation leaders and learn the inner-workings of the base operations.

“We are hoping that new inductees will interact with our troops,” said Geesling. “We want them involved in what we do on a day-to-day basis and show them what we epitomize here at the wing.” Geesling said he is hopeful this will create a relationship were-by military personnel will also have an opportunity to interact in the local community.

The Honorary Commanders will have an opportunity to interact with group and squadron personnel to learn more about the Air National Guard and the wing’s mission.

“It’s such an honor to be part of this momentous occasion, representing Banner. To me it reflects our commitment to the military and provides us an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the unit,” said Dr. Jackie Hunter, Executive/Physician Leadership Recruiter, Banner Health. Hunter added that she plans to come to the wing and introduce herself to the troops. “Being able to give back is important to me. I want to understand the mission and interact with Airmen who serve here.” Hunter was inducted as an Honorary Commander for the 161st Medical Group.

“To me this program is about bringing recognition and attention to the great mission of the Arizona Air National Guard and I am proud to be a part of that,” said Barry Goldwater Jr., former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Goldwater is the son of former U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater. The wing bares his last name.

The following community leaders were inducted as the installation’s first Honorary Commanders:

The Honorary Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr., 161st Air Refueling Wing Honorary Commander Inductee

Mr. Glenn Hamer, 161st Air Refueling Wing Honorary Commander Inductee

Mrs. Karrin Taylor Robson, 161st Operations Group Honorary Commander Inductee

Mr. J. Brian O’Neil, 161st Operations Group Honorary Commander Inductee

Mr. Tom Guilfoy, 161st Maintenance Group Honorary Commander Inductee

Ms. Sally Harrison, 161st Maintenance Group Honorary Commander Inductee

Mr. Todd Sanders, 161st Mission Support Group Honorary Commander Inductee

Mr. James Scussel, 161st Mission Support Group Honorary Commander Inductee

Mr. Jeffrey Greenspan, 161st Medical Group Honorary Commander Inductee

Dr. Jackie Hunter, 161st Medical Group Honorary Commander Inductee

Mr. Andrew Smigielski, 161st Civil Engineering Squadron Honorary Commander Inductee

Mr. Rob Mckiernan, 161st Logistics Readiness Squadron Honorary Commander Inductee

Mr. John Greenway, 161st Operations Support Squadron Honorary Commander Inductee

Lt. Col. (Ret) Ed Logan, 161st Maintenance Squadron Honorary Commander Inductee

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