The Desert Lightning Team Chiefs’ Group honored six Airmen recently selected for promotion to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant in a ceremony at the Mirage Club here Feb. 22.
The ceremony recognized DLT honorees for their hard work, dedication, loyalty and sacrifice as they achieved the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force. The selectees are: included Senior Master Sgt. Chris Cahalan from 923rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; Senior Master Sgt. Brett McCracken from 355th Operations Support Squadron; Senior Master Sgt. David Morse from the 79th Rescue Squadron; Senior Master Sgt. Todd Popovic from the 48th Rescue Squadron; Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Wendt from Headquarters 12th Air Force/Air Forces Southern and Senior Master Sgt.Nathan Zinn from the 68th Rescue Flight, Guadian Angel Weapons Systems Formal Training Unit.
The event, hosted by Col Kevin Blanchard, the 355th Fighter Wing commander, was honored to have Retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force #5 Robert Gaylor as the guest speaker. Gaylor was the top enlisted man in the Air Force from 1977 to 1979.
During his speech, the Chief spoke of an assignment to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Gaylor was hired by General David Jones to be the Senior Enlisted Advisor of United States Air Forces in Europe. The position was a new one, and Gaylor pondered what the General wanted him to do in the position. During a discussion at headquarters, a Major reminded him that the General had hired him because he was smart, and had the attitude to do the job. So the Major said, “What are you waiting for?”
The Chief then returned the same statement to the newly selected Chiefs in the room. “You were promoted because you were smart, and have the attitude it takes to be a leader. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and be the best Chief you can be. Be a leader. Be a mentor. If my tombstone only reads ‘He was a Chief!’ that will be good enough for me!”
The rank of chief master sergeant was established by Congress in 1958 and only makes up one percent of the entire Air Force.
According to the Air Force Personnel Center, the average time in service for an Airman promoted to chief master sergeant is 22 years. This fiscal year, 400 Senior Master Sergeants were selected for promotion to Chief. Once selected, Chiefs can serve up to 30 years total active military service.