JB MDL welcomes new Honorary Commander Program inductees

By Airman 1st Class Jessica Blair | Oct. 1, 2018

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.- —

The Joint Base MDL community welcomed approximately 80 key civic leaders into the 2018-2019 Honorary Commander Program during an induction ceremony at Tommy B’s Activities Center, here Sept. 27.

Each civic leader is paired with a military commander or senior enlisted leader and are invited to military events on base with their respective units throughout the year.

Honorary commanders serve as a liaison between service members and the public to increase communication and collaboration between the military and the local community. It gives our military members and our surrounding townships a greater appreciation of one another.

 “Command is a special opportunity, it’s a privilege and we are going to share that with you over the course of about a year,” said Brig. Gen. William Knight, U.S. Expeditionary Center commander. “Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, and Coast Guardsmen that serve are our nation’s most precious resource. We want to introduce you to them, let you get to know them and let you see what they do.”

The Honorary Commander Program also allows civic leaders firsthand experience with units, increasing public awareness and understanding of the mission.

Additionally, it allows base leaders and their units to connect with their local community as well as allow civic leaders the opportunity to understand the missions and policies of the Defense Department.

“This a volunteer status; you get out of it what you’re going to put into it. You’re going to get a great relationship,” said Col. Neil Richardson, 87th Air Base Wing commander. “You’re going to get to be a part of that when you spend time with them. You are vital advocates for our nation.”

Service members benefit just as much from the program and the partnership as the inductees do.

“I think each of you have leadership lessons that you can teach us and we want to learn those to help us be better commanders and that is a way that you can have a positive influence on our mission,” said Brig. Gen. William Knight, U.S. Expeditionary Center commander.

During the ceremony, inductees were recognized and presented with an honorary certificate of induction before reciting an oath, making a promise to put the nation’s needs ahead of their own.

 “While you’ll get the opportunity to watch, learn and serve alongside of us we ask that you think outside that box,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Neil Richardson, Joint Base MDL 87th Air Base Wing commander. “[To] see what we can do to get better and to strengthen our nation.”