Ramstein AB honorary commander program brings leaders together Published Sept. 12, 2023 By Airman 1st Class Regan Spinner 86th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – Johannes Freundorfer, Polizeiinspektion Ludwigshafen 2, head of police, has been involved with the 86th Civil Engineer Group since he was selected to be a part of the Ramstein AB honorary commander program in February 2022. A participant of the honorary commander program is expected to be a leader and is an individual of outstanding character and integrity. Johannes Freundorfer, 86th CEG honorary commander and a member of the local community, is no exception. Candidates for the honorary commander program include numerous civilian leaders from the local community, including business owners, community organizers and public officials. They are chosen based on their dedication to the local community and their potential to contribute meaningfully to the program. One of the most significant benefits of this program is the opportunity for local leaders and Ramstein leadership to gain a deeper understanding of each other's daily operations and what it takes to be a leader in their separate communities. “There is a cultural aspect that makes a difference, it is very interesting to see how decisions are made and what leadership means in different communities,” said Freundorfer. “It is very interesting to not only see the differences but the same values and the same goals we have despite our completely different backgrounds.” The program helps honorary commanders and their assigned partners strengthen the bond between the base and the community through the exchange of ideas and the increased understanding of each other's capabilities. The relationship between honorary commanders and military leaders goes beyond just professional development. It extends into personal connections, fostering friendships that transcends uniforms and titles. These relationships help break down stereotypes and build trust, ultimately strengthening the military-community bond. “I think the relationship that comes out of this experience can do a lot of good for the organization as Freundorfer helps me understand and therefore lead the two thirds of this organization that are local nationals,” said Col. Steve Thomas, 86th CEG commander. “Not only that, but he is a good resource, confidant and now a friend who helps me connect to the community off base.” During the time that Col. Steve Thomas and Johannes Freundorfer have been working together, they have included one another in close celebrations such as Thomas’s Thanksgiving and Freundorfer’s 40th birthday, giving them the chance to experience the ways their communities celebrate. “If you invest a little bit of your time you get so much more out of it,” said Freundorfer. “You learn about the life of another person who comes from a totally different background.” By bridging the gap between the military and civilian communities, this program not only strengthens national security but also enriches the lives of those involved. The bonds formed through this program are a testament to the power of collaboration and mutual understanding, reminding us all that we are stronger when we stand together.