LEMOORE − Lemoore Mayor Lois Wynne honored Naval Air Station Lemoore’s commanding officer Capt. Monty Ashliman at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting for his service to the community and the country.
Wynne gave Ashliman a plaque thanking and wishing him well on his next assignment in Virginia. Ashliman gave City Council members and Lemoore Police Chief Darrell Smith a commander’s coin following his recognition.
“One of the things that I’ve always heard about this place is the incredible community relationship,” Ashliman said.
Ashliman said the military, including law enforcement and first responders, benefit from public support.
Ashliman became the base commander in June 2013 and will change command to Capt. David James on Oct. 17.
“Naval Air Station Lemoore will be in great hands,” Ashliman said.
Wynne said in an interview that Ashliman has always worked well with the city to establish open communication between Lemoore and the base.
“We just thought it was important to show publically that we value what they do here, not only for our community but for our country,” she said.
She said working together is essential when understanding the city's needs and respecting the needs of the base, such as when pilots fly over parts of town.
From a city standpoint, Wynne said it is important to have amenities for base staff and family members like parks, stores, recreational facilities and entertainment.
“Our goal is to have more retail in the future to enhance their experience that much more,” she said.
Wynne, who met Ashliman a month after he came to Lemoore in 2013, said she has enjoyed working with him.
“We are going to miss him,” she said. “I know he and his family enjoyed his tour.”
At the meeting, Ashliman said his family has discussed the possibility of coming back to Lemoore once he retires from the U.S. Navy.
“So maybe we'll see you again in a few years,” he said.
Lemoore City Manager Andi Welsh said she is looking forward to working with James once he takes command of the base in the next few weeks. Welsh said she first met James at Tuesday's meeting.
“I definitely wanted to welcome him to the community,” she said.