2/11/2012 - LACKLAND AFB, Texas -- Today, the Texas Air National Guard's 149th Fighter Wing launched the Honorary Commander Program by welcoming executive leaders of the San Antonio Talons professional arena football team as the newest members of the Lone Star Gunfighters team.
Jason Lohe, owner and chief executive officer, and Cree Crawford, senior vice president and chief operating officer, both of the Talons organization, were selected to serve as the inaugural honorary commanders of the 149th Fighter Wing.
The U.S. Air Force developed the honorary commander program as a community relations initiative to educate those with limited knowledge about Air Force missions, customs, and traditions. Individuals are selected as honorary commanders because of their position or influence in the community, and have the ability to foster awareness and public support for the base.
The 149th Fighter Wing launched its program to forge a relationship with San Antonio's new professional football team. A ten-year old franchise, the San Antonio Talons are a member of the Arena Football League (AFL), and are new to the San Antonio community after relocating from Tulsa, Oklahoma, in December 2011.
The inaugural honorary commanders have been paired with Col. John Kane and Col. Michael Kelley, the 149th Fighter Wing's commander and vice commander, respectively. They will experience first-hand how the 149th operates, from its federal F-16 training mission to humanitarian and disaster relief preparations on behalf of the state of Texas. The Talons and the Lone Star Gunfighters will also team up for various activities throughout the two-year honorary commander term.
The kick-off event included a brief ceremony that was modeled after the military assumption-of-command, where the honorary commanders were publicly presented Texas flags with a streamer indicating their new role with the South Texas military unit.
"The Honorary Commander ceremony is based on a time-honored tradition in the military, which visibly assures continuity of command," Colonel Kane said. "Today's event illustrates the San Antonio Talons assuming a role as true ambassadors of the 149th Fighter Wing and the Texas Air National Guard."
"We are honored by this recognition and are humbled to be able to partner with the 149th Fighter Wing," Mr. Lohe said.