Honorary commanders immersed in MacDill’s mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Adam R. Shanks
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

As a branch of the military, the Air Force relies on partnerships. These partnerships can be amongst Airmen, or in some cases between Airmen and their local community.

At MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, the Honorary Commander program does just that – bridge the gap between the military and local civic leaders.

On January 18, more than 30 civic leaders from the Tampa Bay community received an immersion of the 6th Air Mobility Wing and 927th Air Refueling Wing’s mission, by diving into the minds of both Operations Groups.

Col. April Vogel, commander of the 6th AMW, gave opening remarks to the honorary commanders, giving them insight on what they would see and experience during their visit.

“Today, you’ll see young Airmen, some even in their early 20s, maintain and operate assets that directly affect missions around the world,” said Vogel. “We want to open our doors to you, so you can see firsthand what goes on behind the scenes.”

After the introduction to MacDill’s mission, the honorary commanders visited a boom operator simulator created to train and refresh Airmen around the primary objective of rapid global mobility, in-flight refueling.

Active duty and reserve boom operators shared their experiences, answered questions and let the group get hands-on training behind the aerial refueling simulator.

“It’s great to share an aspect of the Air Force that makes us unique,” said Master Sgt. Justin Poteet, the superintendent assigned to the 50th Air Refueling Squadron. “They asked me, ‘What’s one of the most exciting parts of your job?’

“And I told them, it’s being able to see that my job allows a fighter or bomber to accomplish its objective in the area of responsibility.”

Additionally, the commanders saw the Airmen in aircrew flight equipment, a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, the air traffic control tower and how their occupations contribute to the success of the wing’s mission.

The honorary commanders met with their partnered squadron or group commanders to discuss their positions and the visit over a lunch at the dining facility.

Stewart Clark, the president of Busch Gardens and Adventure Island and the 6th Mission Support Group honorary commander, mentioned that the program offers a great partnership with the military

“After talking with many of the honorary commanders today, it’s safe to say we truly appreciate what MacDill and the Air Force does,” said Clark. “Tampa’s community loves MacDill and its Airmen, and we want to serve those who serve us.”