COLUMBIA, S.C. - The founder of South Carolina's Honor Flight organization, Bill Dukes, has been named a civilian liaison to the Army.

The State newspaper reported Friday that the 71-year-old Air Force veteran said he wants to tighten bonds between South Carolina and the Army.

The Secretary of the Army chooses individuals for the post. Dukes is one of two representatives in the state.

Since 2008, Dukes has organized 19 free Honor Flights, flying 2,500 World War II veterans to the nation's capital. He also owns the Columbia restaurant Blue Marlin.

In the Army post, Dukes follows Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce chief Ike McLeese, who died last year.

Fort Jackson outside Columbia is the Army's largest training post. The Third Army is headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base near Sumter.