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News > Dover AFB inducts new honorary commanders
Welcome new honorary commanders
Maj. Asheleigh Gellner, 46th Aerial Port Squadron commander, welcomes incoming Honorary Commander Jason Bishop, the regional sales manager for Pepsi, at the Honorary Commander Induction Ceremony at the Air Mobility Command Museum Feb. 4. Commanders from the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, and Joint Personal Effects Depot recognized outgoing honorary commanders and inducted new local community leaders during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)
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Dover AFB inducts new honorary commanders

Posted 2/6/2012   Updated 2/8/2012 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Veronica Aceveda
512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/6/2012 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- Dover Air Force Base inducted 41 new honorary commanders and honored seven outgoing honorary commanders at an induction ceremony and dinner Feb. 4 at the Air Mobility Command Museum.

The selected educators, business owners and civic leaders will spend the next year partnered with a military commander, exchanging ideas and strengthening community partnerships.

"I encourage each and every one of you to engage with your unit commander and communicate about what's going on in each of your worlds to see how we can honor each other," said Col. Randal L. Bright, 512th Airlift Wing commander ,when he addressed the new inductees.

Jason Bishop, the regional sales manager for Pepsi, said he can already tell this is going to be an awesome experience. He is paired with Maj. Asheleigh Gellner, the 46th Aerial Port Squadron commander.

"I can invite her to get involved in things ranging from some of our legislative affairs to golf functions," said Bishop. "Plus, this opportunity is great exposure for my boys who are in the ROTC program."

Throughout the year, honorary commanders will be invited to tour various agencies on base and participate in an orientation flight on a C-17 Globemaster III or C-5 Galaxy. Each new inductee is also entitled to use on-base services such as the fitness center and outdoor recreation.

One of the newest units on base, the Joint Personal Effects Depot, will embark on having their first honorary commander this year. Eric Riddle, a cost accountant with PPG Industries will serve with Lt. Col. Kelly Kyburz, the JPED commander.

"I'm looking forward to leveraging his skill set to help us achieve our vision of optimizing the balance of speed and accuracy while processing the personal effects of our nation's fallen heroes," said Kyburz. "And, because of the nature of our business, we hold a lot of morale events throughout the year that our honorary commander can attend. In addition to our hail and farewell, we look forward to inviting him to our talent show, organizational family day and future events to meet our entire team."

Following dinner, Dr. Stephanie Steckel, an orthodontist and outgoing honorary commander, shared a few highlights from her tenure last year.

"We were able to reactivate our connection with the dental squadron," she said. "Following 9/11, access to the base became limited, but now we're sharing education events again.
"I may be a retiring honorary commander, but I'll always be a good will ambassador for Dover Air Force Base."

Steckel and Deborah Caulk, the manager of Autozone Dover, relinquished their commands and became a member of the Honorary Commander Alumni Association.

Caulk, who served two years as an honorary commander for the 712th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said it's different now when military members come in to buy their auto parts.

"I know what they go through now and what it takes to be in the military," she said. "This experience has brought me so much closer to the military community. I feel really connected."

After Col. Mark D. Camerer, 436th AW commander, and Bright bestowed alumni lapel pins to the outgoing civilian commanders, the two wing leaders led the new commanders in reciting an oath which outlined the responsibilities of their command.

"Raising my right hand and reciting the oath struck me as the most eye-opening and exciting part of the night," said Shelly Cecchette, the executive director of the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System. "I took it seriously, and I am truly honored to be a part of this program."

The next large gathering scheduled for the new Airmen is Feb. 29, when a tour of some staff agencies will be conducted as well as an Honorary Commander 101 briefing.

512th Airlift Wing Honorary Commanders
512th AW, Judy Zaal, Astra Zeneca, military support group coordinator
512th Operations Group, Brett McCrea, 16 Mile Brewery, owner and operator
326th Airlift Squadron, Joe Nadel, Hertrich Family Automobile Dealerships, corporate controller
709th AS, Robert Moran, Wilmington Trust Bank, CTFA, assistant vice president
512th Airlift Control Flight, Josh Bushweller, Delaware State Police, assistant director of human resources
512th Maintenance Group, David McClellan, Perdue Farms, quality assurance manager
512th Maintenance Squadron, Betsy Jones, Polytech Adult Education, director
712th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Kristen Cook, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension, extension coordinator
512th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Hal McComas, Energizer Holdings Inc., Human Resources
512th Maintenance Operations Flight, Chris Kemple, Wilmington Blue Rocks, general manager
512th Mission Support Group, Erastus Mongare, Delaware Americorps, state program director
512th Force Support Squadron, Michelle Taylor, United Way of Delaware, president and CEO
512th Security Forces Squadron, Alison MacKenzie, Buffalo Wild Wings-Delaware, marketing manager
12th Memorial Affairs Squadron, Matt Turlinski, Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the board
512th Civil Engineering Squadron, Dennis Doll, Tidewater Utilities Inc., president and CEO
512th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Cathy Ressler, WaWa, area manager
46th Aerial Port Squadron, Jason Bishop, Pepsi, regional sales manager
512th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, Salvation Army, captain

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