JOINT-BASE SAN ANTONIO-Randolph, Texas – The 340th Flying Training Group revitalized its honorary commander program, inducting three local civic leaders during a Feb. 1 ceremony here to serve as honorary commanders for the headquarters and the group’s two Joint-Base San Antonio, Texas squadrons: the 39th Flying Training Squadron and the 433rd Training Squadron.
The honorary commander program helps promote and strengthen relationships between military and civilian communities.
The 340th - an Air Force Reserve unit - is the largest flying group in the Air Force. It supports Air Education and Training Command specialized undergraduate pilot training, joint primary pilot training, pilot instructor training, introduction to fighter fundamentals, Euro-NATO joint jet pilot training, United States Air Force Academy Airmanship programs, Air Force Reserve undergraduate flying training, and enlisted basic military training. The group’s commander, Col. Allen Duckworth, invited City of Schertz, Texas Mayor Michael Carpenter to serve as his honorary commander.
Mayor Michael Carpenter
Carpenter has been the Schertz mayor for seven years, prior to which he served on the city council from 2005-2012. The national sales manager for a local information technology distribution firm is originally from Memphis, Tenn. He is active with local youth sports, routinely volunteers with civic organizations and is active in various church ministries. As mayor, Carpenter leads one of the nation’s fastest growing small communities with a population of 35,000, up from 31,000 in 2012. The city is governed by a council-manager form of government where the mayor and city council set city policy and the city manager is responsible for city operations.
The 433rd TRS - the only squadron of Reserve military training instructors in the Air Force - develops and maintains an integrated cadre of highly-qualified Reserve MTIs to support basic military training operational needs. Reserve MTIs serve side-by-side with active duty mission partners to create the next generation of Airmen for the Air Force. The squadron also routinely supports Reserve Officer Training Corps and officer training school programs. Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Christopher Victoria invited Bexar County Precinct 2 Commissioner Justin Rodriguez to serve as his honorary commander.
Commissioner Justin Rodriguez
Commissioner Rodriguez was appointed as the Bexar County Precinct 2 commissioner in January 2019. The San Antonio native began his career in public service as a Bexar County juvenile prosecutor, and in that position he worked to help rehabilitate young offenders. In 2012, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, serving through 2018, when he accepted the commissioner opportunity. In his role of Precinct 2 commissioner, he shares responsibility with three other commissioners for managing and governing the 17th largest county in the nation, with a population of 1.9 million people.
The 39th FTS is responsible for training and providing experienced pilots to augment Air Education and Training Command’s instructor pilot force. The squadron includes 93 instructor pilots who routinely fly more than 6,039 training sorties annually in the T-38 Talon, T-6 Texan and T-1 Jayhawk. Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Kristen Kent invited third generation automobile corporation executive Jason Gillman to serve as her honorary commander.
Executive Vice President Jason Gillman is well-known in the automobile industry, as well as in the local community. A strong supporter of the United Way, Schertz Family YMCA, Comal Independent School District, Greater Randolph Area Partners in Education Foundation, Any Woman Can Health Center, Military Warriors Support Foundation serving combat wounded veterans and gold star families, and the Fort Bend Women’s Center, Gillman and his sister Stacey manage a family business established in 1938 by their grandfather, Frank Gillman. With more than a dozen companies throughout Texas, Gillman is known for his focus on family, integrity, and customer satisfaction.
Group and squadron leaders will invite their honorary commanders to join them for various work and social events, and will accept opportunities to learn more about their honorary commanders’ areas of responsibility, as well.
“The honorary commander program is one of the most important tools available to us to help us develop lasting relationships with our local communities,” the 340th commander said. “For Citizen Airmen, it’s especially important because we don’t just work here on base. We also live, work, go to school and play in the local community. Outside of the military, we are pilots, mechanics, teachers, homemakers and more. Your community is our community, and we are honored to be able to work with you to improve our understanding of one another.”