Civic leaders: A total force contributor at Phoenix Rally

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kristine Dreyer
  • Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – Headquarters Air Mobility Command hosted a civic leader panel here April 28, 2017 to facilitate dialogue between military and civilian leaders while emphasizing the role civic leaders and honorary commanders serve as mission enablers.

The panel was part of the 2017 Spring Phoenix Rally, a bi-annual forum designed for idea sharing and professional development of Air Mobility Command wing commanders and their command chiefs. 

“It’s amazing what our honorary commanders and civic leaders bring to the table,” said Gen. Carlton Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander. “The knowledge, experience and perspectives they possess provides invaluable support to AMC leadership. It is important commanders connect with the communities we serve.”

During the 45-minute panel, three civic leaders and honorary commanders answered questions and explained how to build and strengthen a relationship with their local community.

“You cannot be on an island on your own,” said Dr. Joe L. Leverett, a former honorary commander of the 97th Air Mobility Wing, Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and member of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s civic leader program. “It is important to strengthen the relationship between commanders, the base, and the civic leaders. Each has a stake in national defense and a role to play.”

General Everhart reinforced that being heavily involved in their community, civic leaders and honorary commanders strengthen the ties between civilian and military communities. He also remarked on the parallels between the two groups.

“Service to others is something we have in common with so many of our civic leaders,” said Everhart. “When we keep them informed it creates a culture of engagement across our AMC communities. Civic leaders are very much a part of our total force.”

Military members have a responsibility to educate the communities in which they serve, said Janet Cowley, an AMC civic leader alumna from Wyoming National Guard. Civilians can take information and ensure more informed dialogue on issues impacting national defense. 

“It’s about building relationships,” said Cowley.  “It is important to ensure trust is established. Time invested in building those relationships result in an ability to best serve our Total Force Airmen.”

The majority of AMC wings, such as Travis Air Force Base, California, have an active honorary commander program, but AMC bases remain committed to strengthening bridges of support. 

“You can never do enough,” said Col. John Klein Jr., 60th Air Mobility Wing commander from Travis AFB. “I always learn something new when I go into the community. This all relates to building a culture of engagement for the Air Force. It’s not just about standing in front of the camera or giving a speech at the local Lion’s Club. It’s the person to person connection with these relationships.”