Warrior Honorary

  • Published
  • By K.C. Inman
  • 319th Air Refueling Wing Honorary Commander
As a pilot in the 905th Air Refueling Squadron during the early 1970s, I served during the Vietnam and Cold Was. I remember 30-, 60- and even 90- day temporary duty assignments and pulling alerts for a week every month or so. However, that now seems to pale in comparison to the 120 or even 179 day or more TDYs regularly carried out by Warriors of the North to meet current world threats. 

A few years ago, I took the time to sit down and think about the contributions made by the bases’ Airmen, civilian employees and their families. The more I thought about it, the more more impressed I became. I realized that their selfless service and contributions to our nation came at a high cost. The long hours required to carry out the mission at home and overseas meant long separations from loved ones as well as missing many “firsts” and other important family events. Compensation in the form of pay doesn’t seem to measure up to those contributions and sacrifices. The members of today’s Air Force (both uniformed and civilian) and their families make sacrifices that I believe to be truly heroic. 

These realizations moved me to find a way to make as many of these people feel appreciated as I could (and to help better their lives in a meaningful way). The Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee and the base's honorary commander program turned out to be the perfect venues. These opportunities, particularly serving as an honorary commander, have given me the chance to regularly interact with the base community and show my appreciation by being involved in it. I have really enjoyed the chance to be present at and support changes of command, graduation ceremonies, award ceremonies and base celebrations. 

However, when it comes down to it, my contributions can never measure up to your efforts on behalf of all Americans. Despite that, I want the entire base community personnel to know there are citizens out here that recognize the sacrifices you make for our freedoms (sometimes taken for granted by me and many other Americans). Finally, thank you for allowing me the privilege and honor to be called your friend and to spend time amongst you.