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February 7, 2013

A chief’s recollection

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Senior Airman Brittany Dowdle
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths
Chief Master Sgt. Dawna Cnota, 355th Fighter Wing command chief poses in her dedicated crew chief suit on the flight line February 4.

Chief Master Sgt. Dawna Cnota, 355th Fighter Wing command chief master sergeant, joined the Air Force 27 years ago as security police law enforcement, now known as security forces. She knew she would make a career of the military, but never imagined she would become a command chief master sergeant of a wing.

“I always knew I wanted to serve and I didn’t care what form that took,” Cnota said. “As doors opened up in my career and I was exposed to different jobs, I started thinking about what I could do and where I could go.”

After spending three years in the security police career field, Chief Cnota cross-trained into diet therapy. She spent nine years as a diet therapist, before taking on the special duty of military training leader, where she stayed for five years. Chief Cnota also spent four years as a first sergeant.

“My favorite job was being a first sergeant, because I got to see so many different things that our Airmen do,” Cnota said. “We get so sequestered in our own Air Force Specialty Codes that we don’t know who takes care of all the other things that happen to get the mission done. I was able to see several units from medical to aircraft maintenance. It was an amazing experience and it just showed me, even more, that our folks are amazing!”

Being an MTL and a first sergeant inspired Chief Cnota to make things better for all Airmen. She says her favorite part of being a command chief master sergeant is meeting and recognizing the incredible Airmen on D-M.

“To the Airmen of D-M, I would like to say, ‘You are amazing!’” Cnota said. “’You are skilled, disciplined and dedicated to getting the mission done. I’m proud to serve next to you.’”

As the 355th FW command chief master sergeant, Chief Cnota advises Col. Kevin Blanchard, 355th Fighter Wing commander, on matters influencing the health, moral, welfare, readiness and effective utilization of the Airmen on D-M. She is also the functional manager for the 26 first sergeants on base.

“Being a command chief is just something that happened,” Cnota said. “There is a list of about 160 chiefs for about 80 command chief openings. Selection depends on who is hiring, the commander’s background, what kind of wing it is and what the mission is. The opportunity came along for me, and who would pass up this opportunity?”




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(U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

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