Tinker welcomes new honorary commanders, bids farewell to graduating class

  • Published
  • By Paul Shirk
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Tinker Air Force Base welcomed its newest class of honorary commanders while graduating its outgoing class in a ceremony held here Feb. 16.

The incoming commanders as well as the graduating class, civic leaders from across Oklahoma, attended the dinner and met with their partner commanders from units across Tinker.

“As an honorary commander, they will see firsthand the vital work we do and meet some of the amazing people who make it happen,” said Col. G. Hall Sebren, Jr., Tinker AFB installation commander. “I cannot think of a base that has more strategic importance than Tinker; I am confident they will be highly impressed with the men and women who make up our total force team.”

Originally known as Commstar, the Honorary Commander Program began at Tinker in 1996. Pairing civic leaders with military commanders, the program’s goals include developing interpersonal relationships to better learn and understand how each partner’s activities impact the community and Tinker AFB.

In doing this, members of the program are given a rare first-hand look at Tinker’s diverse mission set and its importance to the United States. Honorary commanders in previous years of the program had the opportunity to take tours of the base, including the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, 552nd Air Control Wing and the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Communications Wing ONE. They also had the chance to participate in exercise simulations and even fly on a KC-135 Stratotanker refueling mission.

Honorary Commander candidates are selected from a wide variety of business, government and community leaders. Nominations are submitted from a number of sources including previous members, local chambers of commerce, city offices and on-base commanders.

The class of 2022 consisted of 16 members, growing to 19 for 2023. Those selected for this year’s class include:

Mr. Michael Davis, President & CEO, Oklahoma Finance Authorities
Ms. Marissa Lightsey, Executive Director of College and Career Readiness, Oklahoma State Department of Education
Mr. Richard Luht, Owner, Tecara Logistics
Ms. Amanda Carpenter, Attorney, Williams, Box, Forshee & Bullard
Mrs. Robyn Castleberry, Director of Business & Information Technology Programs, Moore Norman Technology Center
Mr. Jim Flavin, Vice President, Oklahoma City Dodgers Corporate Partnership
Mayor Brian Grider, Mayor, City of Mustang, Oklahoma
Dr. Shad Satterthwaite, Director, University of Oklahoma Executive Business Programs in Aerospace and Defense
Ms. Kim Brown, President, Moore Chamber of Commerce
Rep. Nicole Miller, Oklahoma House of Representatives
Mr. Jeff Mulder, Director, Oklahoma City Airports
Ms. Jennifer McGrail, Executive Director, Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology
Rep. Kyle Hilbert, Oklahoma House of Representatives
Ms. Victoria Natalie, Director of Engineering Operations, Oklahoma State University Unmanned Systems Research Institute
Ms. Shaina Bennett, President, Midwest City Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Brent Moody, Doctor of Dental Surgery, Pediatric Dental Specialists of Central Oklahoma
Mr. Tim Gatz, Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation
Ms. Kinnee Tilly, Vice President, Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance
Mr. John Klier, Dean and AT&T Chair, University of Oklahoma Gallogly College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering