Dover base inducts honorary commanders



Col. D. Scott Durham, 512th Airlift Wing commander, speaks with Kenny Carter, Delaware State University head football coach. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Zachary Cacicia)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE — Thirty-five local civic and business leaders were inducted into Team Dover’s Honorary Commander Program during a ceremony Feb. 6 at the Air Mobility Command Museum on Dover Air Force Base.

Team Dover’s Honorary Commander Program first began in 1992 as a way to match individuals from across the state with commanders from the 436th Airlift Wing, 512th AW, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, Joint Personal Effects Depot and the 373d Training Squadron, Detachment 3. The program is a way to help members of the community understand the importance of Dover AFB’s and the Air Force’s mission. It also allows military commanders and their airmen to learn more about the community in which they live.


Robert Pancake, Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee, takes the Honorary Commander Oath during the 2016 Team Dover Honorary Commanders induction ceremony Feb. 6 at the Air Mobility Command Museum on Dover Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Zachary Cacicia)

The ceremony’s guest speaker was Dawne Nickerson-Banez, Frankfurt Bakery and Deli owner and the 436th Mission Support Group honorary commander for 2015.

Ms. Nickerson-Banez talked about her time in the program and some of the things she has accomplished in her three years as an honorary commander. She also challenged the new inductees.

“Class of 2016, I challenge you,” said Ms. Nickerson-Banez. “Engage, embrace and embark into a new and lifelong relationship. Don’t just take. Bring your commander into your world.”

Dr. Dean Dobbert, Eden Hill Express Care medical doctor and 436th Operations Support Squadron honorary commander, said he is incredibly excited about the honorary commander program and it is a tremendous honor to be a part of it this year.

“It is not a secret that Dover AFB enjoys a unique relationship with the surrounding civilian community as we support each other,” said Dr. Dobbert. “The Honorary Commander Program gives base personnel a chance to explain their skills, and for us civilians to appreciate how hard their job is. From being beaten up by the Red Man, to sitting in the cockpit during an inflight refueling, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and I’m grateful to be participating in the program.”

Following Ms. Nickerson-Banez ‘s speech, the previous year’s honorary commanders were recognized. Col. Michael Grismer, 436th AW commander, and Col. D. Scott Durham, 512th AW commander, thanked the 2015 honorary commanders in attendance for their service and welcomed them into the alumni program where they can continue to exchange ideas, experiences and friendships with Team Dover.

Both commanders then closed the ceremony by leading an oath recited by all 35 newly selected honorary commanders, officially bringing them into the Team Dover family.

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