On January 26th, Kathleen Holmes Cates was one of 56 community and business leaders honored by being inducted as an Honorary Commander in the Kirtland Air Force Base Honorary Commanders Program. Kathleen, inducted as an Honorary Commander for Major General Matthew Molloy and William Redmond of Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC), is thrilled to be part of this program, which has been in existence since 1986 and is designed to increase public awareness and understanding of the Air Force, and foster relationships with the military and civilian communities.
In the program, Honorary commanders (who go through a nomination process and are selected by the base commander) are paired with Kirtland wing, group and squadron commanders. The commanders immerse their honorary commanders in the unit’s mission, structure and programs, and invite them to take part in quarterly activities and other events on base. Honorary commanders may then reciprocate by inviting their Kirtland counterparts to similar functions within their organizations.
The Honorary Commanders Program, which is active at most Air Force Bases throughout the United States, enables community and business leaders to learn about their host unit and the military as they become honorary commanders and attend unit events. In return, those local leaders invite the Air Force commanders to functions in the community.
With the largest number of community leaders participating in the program due to the amount of mission partners that are located at Kirtland Air Force Base, the KAFB Honorary Commanders Program is considered one of the most active and successful in the Air Force-wide program. In terms of national recognition, in 2017 the previous wing commander, Colonel Eric Froehlich won the Air Force’s top honor for community involvement – due in part to KAFB’s active Honorary Commander program.
Kathleen is thrilled to have been recognized and honored as an Honorary Commander in this exciting program, and looks forward to continuing to be part of this amazing program that fosters such important partnerships in the community.