Honorary Commanders connect 162nd Wing, community
By Staff Sgt. Erich B. Smith, 162nd Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 17, 2015
TUCSON, Ariz. -- What could a professional golfer, a mortgage lender, a bank manager, a cardiologist, a restauranteur and a manufacturer possibly have in common?
They all have the distinction of being an Honorary Commander, a title bestowed upon them by the 162nd Wing during an award and change of command ceremony here April 12.
The Honorary Commander Program seeks to raise awareness of the wing's multiple strategic missions, familiarize the Honorary Commanders with the customs, courtesies, demands, and camaraderie of the military as well as foster mutual mentorship and support.
The 162nd Wing awards the title to one honorary wing commander and five other commanders - each representing a group here - for a term of 2 years.
"I am really excited that I was chosen for this, and I look forward to seeing what the Airmen here do and how I can be involved," said Lisa Larsen, a manager of a Vantage West Credit Union branch.
Larsen, who will serve in her new military capacity as the Honorary Commander of the Mission Support Group, added that she intends to increase financial literacy among Guard Airmen.
For Patrick Sniezek, being an Honorary Commander of the 214th Reconnaissance Group is all about "spreading the word about the 162nd Wing, educating southern Arizona on why it's here and what it does for the community and the country." The principal and founding partner of Sunstreet Mortgage LLC said that holding a military title stands at the top of all the honors he has ever received.
Honorary commanders are invited to attend unit functions and events, harness their industry knowledge for the benefit of Airmen, and look for opportunities that promote the welfare of Airmen and their families.
Col. Jeffrey Butler, who assumed command of the 162nd Maintenance Group at the previously mentioned change of command ceremony, said the Honorary Commander program is a fresh, new way for the wing to establish a positive footprint in not only the Southern Arizona region, but on a national scale as well.
"Everybody is interested in the Air National Guard here in Tucson, and this program will help Honorary Commanders take away an understanding of the value of our mission, and educate people on how important this unit is and what it does," said Butler.
The nominations for Honorary Commanders were submitted to the 162nd Wing Public Affair Office, who then presents their applications to the wing commander for confirmation on appointments. Future considerations please contact the 162nd Wing Public Affairs Office at 520-295-6192.