Community leaders inducted as honorary commanders

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office

Middle Georgia community leaders were inducted into the Robins Air Force Base Honorary Commander Program in a ceremony at the Robins Museum of Aviation Sept. 14, 2022.

The program fosters a supportive relationship between the base and the community by pairing civic leaders with major mission partner commanders or directors. It is designed to encourage an exchange of ideas, experiences and friendships.

Col. Lindsay Droz, Robins Installation and 78th Air Base Wing commander, welcomed the new members.

“We want to demystify what’s happening on this base and our new inductees will learn first hand what we do at Robins Air Force Base as they get to know their counterparts,” Droz said during the ceremony. “What you see and do as honorary commanders will allow you to tell our story in the community where you live, work, and play.

“Outgoing commanders, thank you for what you have done, but it is not over,” she continued. “We still need you to continue telling the Air Force story and sharing your experiences.”

As part of a tradition dating back to 2005, fourteen new honorary commanders were welcomed in with a Certificate of Appointment.

Honorary commanders are selected on two criteria: they must play an active role in their community and demonstrate a drive to share their Air Force experiences with those in their sphere of influence.

“I’m so honored and humbled to learn more about all that is going on here at Robins,” said Kathryn Dennis, Community Foundation of Central Georgia director. “The people here are critical to the success of our region, and we don’t often get a chance to get to know each other. This provides that opportunity.”

Each civic or business leader selected for the program is paired with a Robins commander for a two-year term. During that time, participants of the program will participate in various base and unit events. All events and interactions between commanders and honorary commanders are designed to provide a better understanding of the Air Force and the vital role Robins plays in our national defense.

The new honorary commanders, who represent an array of organizations and businesses, are:

-Air Force Reserve Command / Toni Hannah, Regional Director, Georgia Power  

-Warner Robins-Air Logistics Complex commander / Win Stewart, CEO, Bibb Distributing

-Warner Robins-Air Logistics complex vice commander/Sabrina Phelps, Program Manager, Technical College System of Georgia

-78th Air Base Wing commander/ Dan Perdue, Chair-Elect, Houston County Board of Commissioners

-78th Air Base Wing vice commander/ Dr. Vernard Hodges, Owner/Veterinarian, Critter Fixer Animal Hospital

-78th Air Base Wing command chief/ Brandon Raphael, President, Macon Bacon Baseball

-461st Air Control Wing / Jeremy Nelms, President & CEO, Flint Energies 

-116th Air Control Wing / Kathryn Dennis, Director, Community Foundation of Central Georgia 

-5th Combat Communications Group / Maggie Dimes, Marketing Director, Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agri center

-Defense Logistics Agency-Aviation / Kirk Scott, Regional President, Colony Bank 

-Defense Logistics Agency-Distribution / Jeff Harvey, Chief Administrative Officer, Georgia Farm Bureau Federation

-638th Supply Chain Management Group / Dr. Lionel Brown, Superintendent, Peach County Schools

-Air Force Sustainment Center Engineering - Operating Location Robins/ Ember Bentley, Chief of Staff & Government Affairs Officer, Middle Georgia State University  

-Air Force Sustainment Center Contracting - Operating location Robins / Christina O’Brien, President & CEO, Robins Financial Credit Union

During the service, outgoing honorary commanders were recognized and given an Air Force lapel pin as a token of appreciation.

“To be able to partner with Robins has been an honor and reward,” said Jon Nichols, outgoing 78th ABW honorary commander. “We were able to see and understand the sacrifices made by Airmen and communicate that to the community.

“To the new inductees, I encourage them not to be shy and get to know your partner,” he continued. “They need the appreciation, love and respect. Plus, they’re excited to share what they do to protect our country.”