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Honorary commanders inducted at Hurlburt

Honorary commanders enjoy a Hawaiian themed event with base leadership at The Soundside. (U.S. Air Force Photograph by Senior Airman Ali Flisek)

Honorary commanders enjoy a Hawaiian themed event with base leadership at The Soundside. (U.S. Air Force Photograph by Senior Airman Ali Flisek)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- The 16th Special Operations Wing officially inducted its new honorary commanders and command chief with an orientation day and banquet here Sept. 21.

This year the 16th SOW Honorary Commanders Pro-gram will also include an honorary chaplain to complete the team.

The purpose of the program is to further strengthen community ties and to create additional 16th SOW ambassadors in the community. It's also intended as a forum in which the Wing commander can solicit advice and support from local civic leaders on matters affecting military and civilian communities.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be chosen for the Honorary Commander Program, and I am looking forward to this year's activities with much anticipation," said Carla Reinlie, honorary 16th SOW commander and associate director of college advancement at Okaloosa Walton College.

To kick off their year-long term, the new honorary commanders, command chief and chaplain were introduced to the mission of the 16th SOW. Following their orientation visit, they joined the outgoing honorary commanders and 16th SOW leadership for a hail and farewell banquet at The Soundside. The event included a slide show highlighting the past year's activities, unit coin presentations and an Air Force birthday celebration. The evening culminated with an aerial demonstration on the Santa Rosa Sound which involved two MH-53s, an AC-130H, an MC-130P and special tactics Airmen from the 720th Special Tactics Group.

Throughout the year, the new honorary commanders will be immersed in the 16th SOW mission.

They will come to the base for tours, awards ceremonies, changes of commands, picnics and many other events attended by 16th SOW Airmen.

"By the end of the year, you will have a keen knowledge about the risks taken every day by 16th SOW Airmen in the name of freedom," Col Norman J. Brozenick Jr., 16th SOW commander, told the incoming members. "We hope you will use this knowledge to help us foster understanding and support within the local community."

For outgoing 16th Mission Support Group Honorary Commander Catherine Dokey it was a tremendous honor and experience have been part of the 16th SOW honorary commanders program.

"Being an honorary commander for Hurlburt Field was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget," said Ms. Dokey. "Most of all, I appreciate all the men and women of Hurlburt Field and their commitment to freedom."

The incoming Honorary Commanders:

Carla Reinlie, Okaloosa-Walton College, 16th SOW Honorary Commander; Mike DeMarco, Cumulus Media, 16th SOW Honorary Command Chief; Scott Gashaw, Destin First Bank, 16th Operations Group Honorary Commander; Randy Brown, Ocean City-Wright Fire Department, 16th Mission Support Group Honorary Commander; Shane Moody, Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, 16th Maintenance Group Honorary Commander; Ellen Witterstaeter, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, 16th Medical Group Honorary Commander; Allen Newton, Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church, 16th SOW Honorary Chaplain.