Civic leaders from the St. Louis and local areas met with their Scott Air Force Base military counterparts Nov. 29 to see how the base deploys its personnel and to get a taste—literally—of what it’s like downrange.
The civic leaders are part of Team Scott’s Honorary Commander program, which is designed to educate and increase their knowledge and understanding of the Air Force and its missions.
I have no military background at all so this gave me a great foundation on which to build ... and it was a lot of fun, too.
Alexa Callahan, an attorney with Greensfelder, Hemke & Gale
The event began with a mission briefing about deployment taskings and the role Scott Air Force Base plays in executing those requirements. Col. John Howard, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, explained how humanitarian, contingency and wartime taskings flow from the president and that one of Scott’s main roles in those taskings revolve around transporting those requirements and people all over the globe.
Civics actively participated when they were “tasked” with “Operation Honorary Resolve,” a deployment to Afghanistan to aid in anti-ISIS operations. They met up with members of the Installation Deployment Teams and walked through the war readiness supply areas where they would be issued their gear.
After trying on the battle rattle, handling the weapons used in deployments, and receiving an “intel” brief, Ellen Boyne, representing St. Louis’ Washington University, said she was impressed by how organized the flow of events were.
“I definitely got a better understanding of how this process works and everything it takes to send our military men and women overseas,” Boyne said. “I’ve never handled a weapon before, so I enjoyed being able to do that as well.”
I definitely got a better understanding of how this process works and everything it takes to send our military men and women overseas. I’ve never handled a weapon before, so I enjoyed being able to do that as well.
Ellen Boyne, representing St. Louis’ Washington University
Civics were then bused to their “deployment location” where they participated in a “Top Chef-style” cook off with MREs. In a game setting, they had 25 minutes to cook and present their MRE for judging to see which teams had the most creative and best tasting meal. The Scott Event Center’s chef provided a pantry of spices and ingredients, as well as cooking stations to assist with the garnishes and presentations.
Howard, who served as one of the judges, said, “The variety and clever uses of food were awesome!
“It was also a great way to have the commanders interact with each other in a fun setting to help build the relationships between team members.”
Alexa Callahan, an attorney with Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, agreed and as a new honorary commander to the program this year said it was a “great first event” for her.
“I have no military background at all so this gave me a great foundation on which to build ... and it was a lot of fun, too,” she said.
This event kicked off the 2017-18 class of Honorary Commanders and set the stage for upcoming quarterly base-wide events. Throughout the year, individual commanders meet with their military counterparts as often as they can and participate on many unit-level activities.
Military hosts for the program include groups and squadrons within the 375th AMW, 618th Air and Space Operations Center, Air Force Network Integration Center, Cyberspace Support Squadron, 932nd Airlift Wing (Reserves), the 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing, and the 435th, 635th, 437th Supply Chain Operations Squadrons.
Eligible civics are selected based on their positions or influence in the community in an effort to increase the positive impact and public support for the base and the military overall. The program has not only bridged understanding, but also strengthened mutual partnerships and identified areas for collaboration between the civics and base members.
The program, which has been active for a year, welcomed four new civics for the coming year, joining the other 31 commanders from the class of 2016. Honorary commanders are invited to participate for up to two years to ensure a wide variety of opportunities to engage with base personnel.
Military hosts for the program include groups and squadrons within the 375th AMW, 618th Air and Space Operations Center, Air Force Network Integration Center, Cyberspace Support Squadron, 932nd Airlift Wing (Reserves), the 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing and Group, and the 435th and 437th Supply Chain Operations Squadrons.
THE NEW CIVIC LEADERS ALONG WITH CALLAHAN ARE:
▪ Dennis Wilmsmeyer, America’s Central Port executive director;
▪ Ryan Sparks, Elo Touch Solutions regional sales manager; and
▪ Jay Christians, St. Louis Regional Airport operations manager.
THEY JOIN THE CURRENT CLASS OF HONORARY COMMANDERS, WHICH ARE:
▪ Mayor Allen Adomite, Troy;
▪ Patty Barnett, Explore St. Louis;
▪ Susan Holloway, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital;
▪ Steve Bione, First Command;
▪ Chris Blair, Gateway Motorsports Park;
▪ Kevin Bollman, Weingarten;
▪ Ellen Boyne, Technology & Leadership Center, Washington University;
▪ Charlotte Bruce;
▪ James Caldwell, Gateway Grizzlies;
▪ Paul Evans, Evans Law Firm;
▪ Dr. Janet Fontenot, Southwestern Illinois College;
▪ Matt Gilreath;
▪ Mary Jane Hanrahan, Wells Fargo;
▪ Diane Hartenbach, CSX Intermodal;
▪ Jim Havel, Vatterott Educational Centers;
▪ Ruth Holmes, Memorial Hospital East;
▪ Dr. A. Lauren Hood-Olson, Olson Orthodontics;
▪ Tyler Huth, Ballpark Village;
▪ Jerril Jones, Center for Racial Harmony;
▪ Ann Joos, St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce;
▪ Mayor Mark Kupsky, Fairview Heights;
▪ John Marquart, village of Shiloh;
▪ Dr. Daniel Morra, Right from the Start Pediatrics;
▪ SJ Morrison, Madison County Transit;
▪ Dr. Mike Murphy, Vision Care Associates;
▪ Mark Peters, St. Clair County Health Department;
▪ Brad Reinhardt, Giltner St. Louis;
▪ Lynette Rienbolt, Director, Washington University;
▪ Tom Rezabeck, Edison’s Entertainment Complex;
▪ Dr. Ronda Sauget, Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois; and
▪ Chief Eric Van Hook, O’Fallon Public Safety.