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Honorary commander program inspires outreach

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 25th Operational Weather Squadron and Brendan Lyons, 25th OWS honorary commander, prepare food at the Ronald McDonald house in Tucson, Ariz., July 17, 2018. Through the Honorary Commander Program, Airmen from the 25th OWS partnered with the Tucson Ronald McDonald house to prepare, cook and serve food to local families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Michael X. Beyer) (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Michael X. Beyer)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 25th Operational Weather Squadron and Brendan Lyons, 25th OWS honorary commander, pose for a photography during a charity event at the Ronald McDonald house in Tucson, Ariz., July 17, 2018. Through the Honorary Commander Program, Airmen from the 25th OWS partnered with the Tucson Ronald McDonald house to prepare, cook and serve food to local families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Michael X. Beyer)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Noah Vaughan, 25th Operational Weather Squadron superintendent and Brendan Lyons, 25th OWS honorary commander, prepare food at the Ronald McDonald house in Tucson, Ariz., July 17, 2018. Through the Honorary Commander Program, Airmen from the 25th OWS partnered with the Tucson Ronald McDonald house to prepare, cook and serve food to local families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Michael X. Beyer)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- With buzzing aircraft and armed guards at the gates, a military installation can be a mystery to those outside its gates. The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Honorary Commander Program gives local civic and business leaders to gain a better understanding and greater insight of the various missions and units on base by providing tours and activities.

There are approximately 50 honorary commanders in the program. These commanders gain access to D-M, creating a bridge from the local community to the base and are partnered with a squadron commander for a two year term.

Thanks to the program, commanders and their Airmen gain the invaluable opportunity to learn more about the community in which they live through increased association and interaction with the community and its leaders.

“My job as an honorary commander is to be the conduit between the greater Tucson community and the Airmen,” said Brendan Lyons, 25th OWS honorary commander.

The base hosts immersion tours where a unit or specific mission is highlighted to help inform the honorary commanders on daily operations. The honorary commanders also attend large base events to gain a better understanding of the Air Force culture.

They also have unique one-on-one relationships with their respective units. There they meet Airmen and learn about their jobs and families, as well as attend squadron functions like holiday parties and award ceremonies.

Recently the 25th OWS partnered with the Tucson Ronald McDonald house to cook dinner for families in need.

"I was taught at an early age that a great life is when you live it to your potential and give back to others, and I thought this was a great way to pay it forward with the Airmen,” Lyons said. “Because they not only serve our country, but they also serve the community.”

Charity events such as these give Airmen the opportunity to give back to the local community that they are a part of, and also allows the community to see a different side of the Air Force.

The Honorary Commanders Program has an important role to bridge the gap between the community and the force behind the gate.