Honorary Commanders—We salute you|
Commentary by Lt. Col. Alex Walford
14th Operations Support Squadron commander
4/15/2010 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- As a squadron commander I am charged with instilling good order and discipline within the unit and the mechanism for enforcing the standard is the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although our honorary commanders at Columbus AFB recite the ceremonial oath "I assume command," their charter for instilling good order and discipline comes not from codified law but the unwritten law of the land; namely southern hospitality.
When many in the Air Force request an assignment, one of the main focal points is location. More specifically, what does the local area at my next base offer? Columbus, Miss., while quaint offers many opportunities for the Air Force family ranging from the more obvious outdoor activities like hunting and fishing to the less mainstream events like Civil War reenactments and Pilgrimage. However, military members often overlook the relationship the base has with the surrounding community, and the local community involvement with Columbus AFB may be among the best in the Air Force. The most visible community involvement in the Operations Support Squadron comes from our honorary Squadron Commander, Carlos "Carlitos" Rosales.
Mr. Rosales hails from Tampico Bay, Mexico, and first called Columbus home in 1981. He is the owner of Tampico Bay Bar and Grill and for over 20 years has provided a friendly ear and a frosty mug to everyone from the overwhelmed student pilot to young homesick Airmen. Starting in February of 2009, Mr. Rosales took on an additional role as he accepted the reigns as the 14 OSS honorary commander. Since that day, Mr. Rosales has dutifully fulfilled this role by hosting numerous events at Tampico Bay, filming squadron events with his son Roberto, attending combat dining ins, and most importantly, just dropping by the squadron. He, along with the other BLAZE honorary commanders, always offer the assistance we request with open arms and offer community insight from a local standpoint.
One of the many benefits of military life comes from the local experiences while stationed in a different area of the country or world and the best way to get a true local experience originates from community involvement. As I look at the 14th OSS patch prominently displayed at Tampico Bay, I am extremely grateful for the wonderful cadre of honorary commanders we have at Columbus, Miss., and for the opportunity to experience true southern hospitality--the key to making Columbus a great assignment.