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340th Flying Training Group welcomes new honorary commanders

  • Published
  • By Jet Fabara
  • 340th Flying Training Group Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas--The 340th Flying Training Group revitalized its honorary commander program, inducting three local civic leaders during a Dec. 12 ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph to serve as honorary commanders for the headquarters and the group’s two Joint-Base San Antonio squadrons: the 39th Flying Training Squadron and the 433rd Training Squadron.

The intent of the honorary commander program helps promote and strengthen relationships between military and civilian communities.

“After our program was halted due to COVID-19 prevention and safety measures in 2020, we were excited to bring back a program that provides local civic and business leaders in the San Antonio community an opportunity to interact with our team and experience our mission,” said Col. Kyle Goldstein, 340th FTG commander. “The group today joins an ever-growing group of honorary commanders who represent the community leaders that make Military City USA one of the best in the nation.”

340th Flying Training Group

The 340th FTG -- 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, U.S. Air Force Academy Airmanship programs, Air Force Reserve undergraduate flying training, and enlisted basic military training. The group’s commander, Col. Kyle Goldstein, invited Rebecca Creek Distillery founder and president Steve Ison to serve as his honorary commander.

SteveIson - 340th FTG Honorary Commander

Steve founded the San Antonio-based distillery in 2009, making Rebecca Creek one of the first commercial distilleries opened in Texas since prohibition. Since then, Rebecca Creek has grown to become one of the largest craft spirits distilleries in the country. In spring 2020, with COVID-19 rapidly spreading, the distillery switched over to full-time production of ethyl alcohol, which is the primary component in hand sanitizer. Ultimately, Steve and Rebecca Creek Distillery donated hundreds of gallons of sanitizer to Texas State and other public universities as well as San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and Austin for use by those cities' first responders to help prevent them from contracting COVID-19.

433rd Training Squadron

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 Maj. Robert Glover invited Founders Classical Academy of Schertz dean of students Christopher Fairbank to serve as his honorary commander.

Christopher Fairbank - 433rd TRS Honorary Commander

A renowned ballet dancer turned police officer turned motivational speaker, Christopher speaks all over the country, inspiring students, businesses, conference attendees, and organizations with the goal of creating positive change in our communities. Additionally, he owns and operates a successful speaking and coaching business while being the Dean of Students at Founders Classical Academy of Schertz. He is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and has published four articles in Forbes magazine. He has experience as a professional motivational speaker, youth mentor, public information officer, hostage negotiator, and retired professional ballet dancer and teacher, having danced and taught professionally for more than 18 years. He also had the privilege and honor of dancing for three consecutive presidents of the United States of America, as well as the late Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the late Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. Christopher serves as a student and youth mentor, executive business coach, and trainer and mentors others to help them realize their potential and understand that they can become successful in life no matter their circumstances through motivational speeches and personalized training sessions.

39th Flying Training Squadron

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 97 instructor pilots who flew approximately 9,300 training sorties in 2022 in the T-38 Talon, T-6 Texan II and T-1 Jayhawk. Squadron commander Lt. Col. Thad Reddick invited third-generation automobile corporation executive Jason Gillman to serve as his honorary commander.

Jason Gillman - 39th FTS Honorary Commander

Jason is executive vice president of The Gillman Companies and a member of the Gillman Companies Board of Directors. He is the third generation of a family that has been deeply involved in the retail automobile business for more than six decades. He 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.

Throughout the year, group and squadron leaders will invite their honorary commanders to join them for various work and social events, while also having the opportunity to learn more about their honorary commanders’ areas of responsibility.