Operations Group welcomes honorary commanders

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- While most of the country was still sleepily reeling from the effects of jumping forward an hour due to daylight savings time, members of the 366th Fighter Wing were primed and ready to welcome honorary commanders for a jam-packed day of unique Air Force thrills.

The Honorary Commander program pairs local civic leaders with squadron, group and wing leaders. The honorary commanders are given the opportunity to learn about MHAFB while the military commanders learn about the local civilian community.

First, the civilian leaders were treated to lunch at the Gunfighter Club before being broken up into two groups, one going to the F-15E Strike Eagle simulator and another on a base tour including stops at cowboy control, the tower and the 391st Fighter Squadron building.

"Getting the opportunity to be in the simulator was my favorite part of the day," said Tau Jeppesen, who was attending the event with his father David Jeppesen, 366th Mission Support Group honorary commander. "I am currently working on getting my private pilot's license and I was curious as to how the Strike Eagle would fly."

The simulator was a definite treat for the honorary commanders but not every one of them liked it the most.

"For me the best part of the honorary commanders program is just being on base," said David Jeppesen. "Every time I have the opportunity to come out here I jump on it. Of course being inside the simulators was amazing, however today I really enjoyed visiting with the military members from cowboy control.

"It is pretty amazing what those guys from the range squadron are doing," he continued.
 
"The fact that they are assisting military units from other states and even countries is phenomenal. I never realized that our local Air National Guard unit here supported so many people around the world."

After the simulator experience the honorary commanders were able to experience an actual Strike Eagle up close and personal.

"The size of the aircraft is what really blew me away because I didn't expect it to be that big," said Tau Jeppesen. "It is absolutely stunning to see."

One gentleman was visiting the base as a first-time honorary commander.

"Today was my first time being on base as an honorary commander," said Patrick Cruser, 366th Comptroller Squadron honorary commander. "Being in the simulator was fun but my favorite part of the day was getting to be around the static aircraft they had set out. It was huge and just being able to see, touch and even smell it was amazing.

"I also, really enjoyed the in-depth information that was put out," continued Cruser. "I never realized how many working parts and pieces are necessary to make these aircraft fly."

At the end of the exciting day these civilian commanders were treated to refreshments with their military counterparts.

"Coming from the business world I can appreciate the clarity of focus the base has," said David Jeppesen. "Everyone knows exactly what they are responsible for doing and accomplishing as well as how they fit into the bigger picture."

After a day of multiple events, two honorary commanders agreed on one thing.

"This program is very cool and my dad and I both love it," said Tau Jeppesen. "He always talks about how incredibly impressed he is with the professionalism and enthusiasm of the Airmen who are extremely gracious and hospitable. They seemed like they genuinely wanted us here and wanted to help us learn about what they do every day."