First-of-its kind Honorary Command Chief program kicks off at AFGSC

  • Published
  • By Carla Pampe
  • Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt. Melvina Smith, Air Force Global Strike Command’s Command Chief Master Sergeant, kicked off the first-of-its kind Honorary Command Chief program May 10.

Honorary Command Chiefs were selected from each of the command’s eight bases to represent their communities and serve as the primary point of contact with Smith to advise, guide and help communicate important Air Force issues to the public. They will be part of a continuing and direct dialogue with the Command Chief and key community decision-makers about the challenges faced by Airmen and their families in the community on issues such as education, housing, and diversity and inclusion, with a focus on the enlisted force.

Those selected for the program are:

  • Barksdale AFB, Louisiana – Susannah Poljak
  • Dyess AFB, Texas – Allan Farmer
  • Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota – Lynn Kendall
  • F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming – Lisa Maney
  • Kirtland AFB, New Mexico – Patricia Knighten
  • Malmstrom AFB, Montana – Heidi Hockett
  • Minot AFB, North Dakota – Tom Rafferty
  • Whiteman AFB, Missouri – Karl Kramer

“The Air Force Global Strike Command Honorary Command Chief Program’s purpose is to enhance public understanding of the nuclear deterrence and global strike missions and serve as a mutually beneficial exchange between the command and representatives of the public to facilitate mission success,” Smith said.

During their first Zoom meeting, the Honorary Command Chiefs shared a little about themselves, and what they hope to gain from being a part of the program.

“It’s up to us as community members to flesh out what the Airmen’s needs are to figure out how to address them,” Kramer said. “I look forward to being a part of this group and serving our Airmen and their families.”

Poljak, who serves as a lawyer in Shreveport, Louisiana, has a passion for childhood education issues, something that is a continuing issue for military families.

“I know the military is going to give us great insight into how we can make things better for the Airmen, but also into how that can transfer to the greater civilian population,” she said.

Kendall, who does military community relations for the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority, is looking forward to continuing to strengthen the partnership between the base and the community.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this group.” She said. “There is a lot of information we can gain from you, Chief Smith and to ensure we’re hitting all of your priorities when it comes to people support, but then also sharing practices in our communities.”

In their role, the Honorary Command Chiefs will provide timely, pertinent information about subjects important to the people they represent. Through personal interaction, site visits, attendance at key functions and a steady flow of information, these civic leaders will gain a better understanding of the work being done by Airmen in the command. Civic leaders then may be able to explain Air Force programs to others they come in contact with professionally and personally.

Smith told the group that as her advisors and advocates, they can make a real difference in the lives of Airmen and their families living in their communities.

“I am really looking forward to working with this team,” she said. “I know that together we can get after some of the issues and challenges our Airmen and their families face and make things better for all of them.”