New AFMAO honorary commander inducted

  • Published
  • By Christin Michaud
  • AFMAO Public Affairs
Team Dover inducted 35 civic leaders into the base's Honorary Commander Program during a dinner and ceremony Feb. 6 at the Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

The Honorary Commander Program, which began here in 1992, partners military commanders with distinguished community, business and legislative leaders.

Throughout the year, these partners are encouraged to exchange ideas, experiences and friendships to increase public awareness and understanding of the Armed Forces.

This year, Tom Banez, will serve as the honorary commander for Col. Dan Merry, AFMAO commander. Banez is a Dover native and 30-year employee of Delaware Department of Transportation, where he manages the highway engineering program.

"The Air Force Honorary Commander program is truly a privilege, and I'm honored to be part of it," said Banez.

This is his 3rd year with the Honorary Commander Program. Previously, Banez served with the 436th Aerial Port Squadron and 9th Airlift Squadron.

Banez looks forward to his partnership this year with AFMAO, which operates the Department of Defense's sole port mortuary and mortuary affairs division which supports Air Force casualties across the nation as we well as a past conflicts mission for Airmen still missing in action.

"The Air Force Honorary Commander program is an excellent way for local civilian supporters of the Air Force to expand their knowledge of the Air Force's mission locally and in different parts of the country," said Banez. "Equally important is the opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts with those serving our country." 

As AFMAO's honorary commander, Banez said he hopes to gain insight into what the mortuary team does as well as how the organization impacts the lives of service members and their families. 

Banez will participate in AFMAO events as well as other honorary commander events scheduled throughout the year, including tours of several bases facilities and an orientation flight. The next event is scheduled for March 10, when the honorary commanders are slated to receive a military customs and courtesies briefing and tour some of the staff agencies found on base such as the legal office and courtroom and base chapels. 

(Veronica Aceveda contributed to this article)