JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- —
More than 70 honorary commanders from the surrounding townships were inducted into the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst team during a ceremony at Tommy B’s Community Center here, Oct. 30, 2017.
The honorary commanders program was established to bridge military commanders and civic leaders together, educate civilian participants on the missions of service members from Joint Base MDL and encourage communication between installation commanders and the surrounding communities.
“The more we understand each other, the better the partnership,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Bence, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander. “And the better we can do our jobs.”
In addition to the 70 new members, 18 alumni were promoted into emeritus status – a novel addition to the honorary commanders program which hopes to keep previous members in touch with their former units and offer mentorship to those who fill their positions.
“To those in our emeritus program, thank you for what you have done,” said Col. Neil Richardson, Joint Base MDL and 87th Air Base Wing commander. “To our newest commanders, thank you for what you will do.”
During the ceremony, the inductees recited the honorary commander’s creed, swearing to do their “best to support the men and women of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst as they preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.”
“As much as we want you to advocate for the men and women of this installation, we want the men and women of this installation to advocate for you,” said Bence to the newest commanders. “My challenge to you is to not only get to know your unit, but to know the entire MDL zip code and how we all work together.”
With fresh faces taking on their first terms as honorary commanders, along with the veterans of the emeritus program, Joint Base MDL leaders hope to see the already strong relationships between the installation and the local communities continue to flourish.
“The breadth and depth of what goes on at this base really encompasses a lot,” said Bence. “So let’s keep this dialogue open.”