AAFB Honorary Commanders roll sleeves up, get hands dirty with 97th MSG

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Miyah Gray
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Honorary Commanders from the City of Altus and surrounding communities participated in an immersion tour of the 97th Mission Support Group at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Nov. 9, 2022.

The Honorary Commander program was implemented to create an open flow of communication between commanders and members of the community and to help showcase the Air Force’s capabilities.

“The honorary commanders understanding what our military members do every day really solidifies the support between the community and the base,” said Lt. Col. Laura Styles-Smith, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “It’s evident here at Altus that the community and the base rely on each other. The more our community members understand what we do, the more help and support they can provide to us which we can in-turn provide to them.”

After receiving a brief outlining the MSG’s responsibilities, the group proceeded to the 97th Security Forces Squadron, where they were given an opportunity to participate in firearm training, including virtual shooting and a threat assessment situation.

Next, the Honorary Commanders proceeded to the 97th Communications Squadron where they were given a tour of the facility and a look into the “silent warriors” daily operations.

The group then visited the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron’s fire station and toured the base’s newest fire truck, which is equipped with LED lighting for better visibility, ultra high pressure and can hold up to 3,000 pounds of water.

Finally, the team visited the 97th LRS to experience the multi-step process of parachute packing first-hand.

“The good thing about these tours is that it helps us get a better understanding of what the people here on Altus Air Force Base do, not only for our community but for the world in general,” said Dustin Balderas, 97th Contracting Squadron honorary commander. “I feel humbled and inspired that I was chosen not only to represent my community but to represent Altus Air Force Base in this capacity as well. It's truly an honor.”