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Team Kirtland inducts new honorary commanders

  • Published
  • By Jeremy T. Dyer
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Team Kirtland inducted 30 new honorary commanders during a ceremony on base May 12, 2022.

U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Vattioni, 377th Air Base Wing and installation commander, hosted the event highlighting the importance of community partnerships and the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force.

 “Kirtland Air Force Base runs one of the most robust Honorary Commander programs in the U.S. Air Force.” said Vattioni. “We are very proud of this program. It serves as a testament to the bond between our installation and our surrounding communities.”

As the installation commander, Vattioni hosts the program for the base. It includes two levels of participation – Team Kirtland Wingmen and honorary commanders. 

Team Kirtland Wingmen are select individuals who have made significant contributions over the years to honorary commanders and to Kirtland Air Force Base. They serve as trusted advisors and mentors to both commanders and honorary commanders, to help ensure the program remains robust and continues to build strong bonds with our neighbors in the greater Albuquerque area.

Honorary commanders are leaders from the community, representing cross-sections of industry and business, local government, the education system, and many other organizations. Each is paired with a Kirtland commander to develop lasting partnerships rooted in mutual understanding, respect and support.

Noted honorary commander alumna, Claudine Martinez, provided insight and advice to the new class of “honoraries” with her experiences in the program. “Forging relationships with your commander and their units is the foundation of this program. It has both short term and long term impacts in one’s life, which I cannot emphasize enough. These experiences are invaluable and highly treasured for me.”

Martinez’ continued participation with Kirtland and her outstanding contributions to the program were honored as she was also inducted as a Team Kirtland Wingman during the event.

U.S. Air Force Col. George Sefzik, 150th Special Operations Wing commander, New Mexico Air National Guard, provided closing remarks for the ceremony.

“Being part of the Honorary Commanders Program and having the opportunity to highlight the great works for our active, Guard, Reserve, and civilian Airmen and Guardians, both on- and off- duty, is a great honor.” said Sefzik. “Beyond that, it is important for our fellow New Mexicans to understand what we do and how we each support one another.”

The Team Kirtland Honorary Commanders Program has six Team Kirtland Wingmen and 30 honorary commanders paired with military counterparts on the installation, with terms lasting for two years.  Team Kirtland Wingmen are appointed for lifetime service.