EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 2018 7th Special Forces Group Honorary Commanders Program officially started with an induction ceremony here, February 23. The purpose of the Honorary Commanders Program is to increase public awareness and understanding of missions, policies, programs and the people of 7th SFG(A).

The program brings together community leaders of the Northwest Florida area who have close ties to the community and are aware of its concerns and partner them with a military officer who has command of a unit on 7th SFG(A).

"We believe you will enjoy this experience and gain a better understanding of 7th SFG(A), our mission, and the men and woman who keep Northwest Florida and this country safe," said Col. Robert Connell, deputy commanding officer of 7th SFG(A), to the audience. "I look forward to getting to know you all, and welcome again to 'The Family Business.'"

Newly inducted honorary commander of Group Support Battalion, Marian McBryde, said that her new responsibility is simple.
"We're here for each other and it's my honor to be a liaison to my community for [7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)]. At the end of the day, we're here to support."

"We have had such a tight relationship with the military," said McBryde. "It's this tight knit bond that we want to foster and grow in getting to know what happens on a daily basis."

Serving as an honorary commander provides community and business leaders the opportunity to immerse themselves with a specific unit and gain valuable insight about the unique missions and lives of Soldiers of 7th SFG(A).

Those who are privileged to serve as an honorary commander are tasked with certain responsibilities and provided with incredible opportunities: being an active ambassador for the community, attending the events of their assigned battalion and learning more about the U.S. Army, 7th SFG(A), its mission and functions, just to name a few.

Honorary commanders don't solely benefit from this program of information sharing. Commanders, Soldiers and families also gain a better understanding of their community through this partnership.

"I am confident the relationships we build here will open to us a new era defined by trust, partnership and joint stewardship," said Col. Patrick Colloton, commander of 7th SFG(A). "The work we do will lead to a better community for us all."

"I cannot emphasize enough the value of this program to the men and women of this installation," said Colloton. "As we grow together in mutual appreciation of our beautiful Florida home and our interests in improving and protecting this city and this country, I look forward to all the greatness that will come of our newest partnerships. We now have seven enthusiastic Honorary Commanders who will represent the Group proudly."