The United States Air Force Academy’s (USAFA) “Long Blue Line” is a phrase many of us do not recognize, but to an elite few, it speaks of the time-honored tradition and distinguished service inside one of America’s prestigious academic and military institutions.
Joining the ranks of the “Long Blue Line” – a reference to thousands of USAFA cadets who are currently serving, have served or those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in service – are fourteen local business and community leaders who will serve in USAFA’s inaugural Honorary Commanders Program.
The mission of the Honorary Commanders Program is to educate key community leaders about a unit’s mission and to foster supportive relationships with the community, increase military involvement in civic endeavors and organizations, and help the community get to know the men and women who are helping shape the next generation of Air Force leaders.
Individuals inducted into the program and the units they will support include:
- USAFA HQ Honorary Commander: Don Addy, Chairman, The Colorado Thirty Group
- USAFA HQ Honorary Command Chief: Keith Klaehn, President, Town & Country Realty
- Commandant of Cadets Honorary Commander: Carrie McKee, Civic Leader
- Dean of the Faculty Honorary Commander: Dirk Draper, President and CEO, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC
- Director of Athletics Honorary Commander: Boyd Williams, President and CEP, YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region
- Preparatory School Honorary Commander: Randy Rocha, Director of Development, Harrison School Dist. 2
- 10th Air Base Wing Honorary Commander: Renee Zentz, CEO, Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs
- 10th Mission Support Group Honorary Commander: Terri Hayes, President & CEO, Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce
- 10th Medical Group Honorary Commander: Andy Vick, Executive Director, Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region
- 306th Flying Training Group Honorary Commander: Vance Brown, CEO, National Cybersecurity Center
- 306th Operations Support Squadron Honorary Commander: Greg Phillips, Director of Aviation, COS Airport
- 557th Flying Training Squadron Honorary Commander: Amy Reid, CEO, Pikes Peak Ass. Of Realtors
- 94th Flying Training Squadron Honorary Commander: Bill Nelson, Senior Partner, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
- 98th Flying Training Squadron Honorary Commander: Jim DiBiase, Director, Olive Real Estate Group Inc.
Lieutenant General Jay B. Silveria, USAFA superintendent, welcomed the new commanders in an induction ceremony held last month. Of the recognized Honorary Commanders, 78 percent are members of the Chamber & EDC.
Honorary Commanders will be invited to numerous events throughout their two-year term that will showcase different aspects of the USAFA mission and its relentless pursuit of excellence in preparing cadets as they learn to fly, fight and win in air, space and cyberspace.