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Date ArticleType
12/13/2018 HCA
Honorary Commanders Association Hosts 35th Anniversary Celebration

The Honorary Commanders Alumni Association (HCAA), in collaboration with yearlong presenting sponsors Arcadis and Croy Engineering, hosted its 35th anniversary celebration event Dec. 4 at the Dobbins Air Reserve Base.

Opening ceremonies included the presentation of the colors by the Lassiter/Pope/Kell High School NJROTC color guard, the national anthem and an invocation and tribute. Following dinner, Cobb Chamber President and CEO Sharon Mason and the 2017-2018 co-chairs of the Honorary Commanders Alumni Association Jodi Martin, of Arcadis, and Wayne McGary, of Croy Engineering, each provided remarks. Col. Steven Slick (USAF ret.) was the special guest speaker.

“The 35th Anniversary Celebration last Tuesday was graciously hosted by the Alumni Association, in hopes of reminding the audience of our mission, the important of our program, the countless volunteer hours that keep this program top notch, and the lasting legacy that it is for many years to come,” said Jodi Martin, Co-Chairwoman of the Honorary Commanders Alumni Association. “There are other strong and respectable Honorary Commander programs in the country, but nothing quite like ours. What we have here is indeed special and we don’t want folks to forget this or the importance of our armed forces because without them we know a program of such would not be possible.”

Founding members and honored guests in attendance included Brig. Gen. Bill Basnett (USAF ret.); Chet Austin, former Cobb Chamber president; Jack Wilson, former vice president of community development; Jon Allen, former military affairs committee chairman; and Mack Henderson, former Cobb Chamber president. The anniversary event was supported by event sponsor The Dobbins Club.

The Honorary Commanders Association is a cooperative effort involving the Cobb Chamber, Dobbins Air Reserve Base (ARB), General Lucius D. Clay National Guard Center and the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. HCA annually selects community and business leaders and pairs them with military personnel in a yearlong program designed to give leaders an opportunity to learn about military activities, their impact on the economy and the various aspects of the national defense system. Created by the Cobb Chamber in 1983, HCA has grown over the years to include units of our nation’s Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Each program event covers a branch of service and includes a behind-the-scenes tour of local and regional military assets.

The purpose of the Honorary Commanders Alumni Association (HCAA) is to support the current annual Honorary Commanders program, as well as maintain and foster key relationships with military and defense contacts at local and remote bases. HCAA provides continuing events, socials and trips to allow graduates of the program to remain engaged in an ever-expanding network of patriotic business and community leaders. There are currently over 800 Honorary Commanders alumni.

“To become an HCA alumnus, you must relinquish from the program’s yearlong curriculum. Annually there are 26 selected local business leaders who are paired with 26 senior enlisted and/or officers that come from various departments of the military” said Martin. “These members then collectively participate in the uniquely designed yearlong program, under selected HCA Alumni leadership, where they are educated on all branches of services, their missions, and their importance to the whole National Defense system. It is our hope that these pairings evolve into a lifetime of friendships/networks and understanding, to take their experiences and share it outward to our local community in an effort to bridge that gap of communication and unawareness of what happens “behind the fences”. From there our members (civilian and military) can engage and participate in the Honorary Commanders Alumni Association to continue their education that keeps the mission alive and strong not only in Cobb County but nationally as well.”

To learn more about the HCA and other military programs, contact Joel Blockton at 770-859-2348 or [email protected].