12 February 2012
Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind. – Indiana University Kokomo Chancellor Michael Harris took his oath and assumed duties as “Honorary Wing Commander” for the 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom Air Reserve Base (GARB). (See video of ceremony below.)
A special ceremony took place on Sunday, February 12, as Chancellor Harris and six other community members pledged their commitment (each for a different honorary role) before hundreds of GARB personnel and guests.
“I am truly honored and humbled to serve as Honorary Wing Commander. I am looking forward to learning more about the base, its mission, and men and women who serve here. I am eager to represent the 434th Air Refueling Wing and share my experience with others,” said Harris. “I have tremendous respect for the personnel at Grissom and their commitment to secure our freedom. It is a privilege to be asked to contribute to protecting our constitution.”
Harris added that, “collaboration, understanding and partnerships among different entities is the key for a future in abundance for north central Indiana. It is vital for our economic and social well-being.”
Selected for this prestigious position by GARB officials, Harris begins a year-long mission of learning and serving as an ambassador for the 434th Air Refueling Wing.
“During the next year, it is our hope you will enjoy your interaction with the Wing. We want to provide the opportunity for you to have one-on-one with our airmen and learn their stories, what they do, and the contributions they make to the Air Force in our defense,” Colonel William T. Cahoon said before administering the oath. “They truly are remarkable people who give time away from their families to serve all of us.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of people out in the community who really understand what the Reserves really do, and you can help us tell their story,” he added.
The GARB honorary commanders initiative is key for the base’s outreach activities.
With this program, select individuals from the community are matched with Grissom’s key commanders. The goal is to provide the honorary commanders with a rare, inside look at the base, its mission, and its people. The honorary commanders will then take their experiences at Grissom and share them. Hoping to enhance understanding and communications.
GARB is one of only five Air Force Reserve Command bases in the nation and is home to reserve units from the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps. The host unit is the 434th Air Refueling Wing which is equipped with a fleet of KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft.
More information about GARB can be found at http://www.grissom.afrc.af.mil/.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.