Command Chief select reflects on 26 years of service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Adarius Petty
  • 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Every Airman has a unique start to their Air Force career; for one Airman in particular, transferring from college to college made him realize it was time for a change. It was then his path in the Air Force career began.

After enlisting in July of 1989 from Savannah, Georgia, Chief Master Sgt. John 432nd Maintenance Group chief enlisted manager wanted to attain his education and leave the Air Force. After four years he decided to reenlist for another four and was sure he would pursue a different path out of the Air Force.

"I came in for the college, I signed up for four years and thought that would be it." said John. "Those four years turned into eight because I was having so much fun. Once I hit eight I figured I'd do a little bit more, once I went past 10 there was no going back and here we are at 26 years and I'm still here."

To get to his 26 year mark, as well as the rank of chief, John lived by his father's advice when he faced challenges along the way.

"Both in and out of the military I've faced not discrimination necessarily but racial challenges," John said. "My dad always used to tell me that racism is fueled by ignorance and if you want to defeat it you have to work hard to be the best human being you can be every day."

Every day of his career John strived to be an example by getting his non-military education as well as his professional military education. He worked hard to be the best Airman, supervisor, and mentor he could possibly be.

"When I came into the Air Force there wasn't the emphasis that was needed on diversity," John said. "Today we're doing a much better job of taking care of our Airmen in all areas including combating any kind of 'ism' such as racism, sexism, and more."

With the Air Force handling any prejudice or equal opportunity issues John still faced some cultural challenges in the Air Force.

"There have been times where I've been underestimated or my opinion has been undervalued because of the color of my skin." John said. "They tried to define who I was because of the color of my skin"

When dealing with these challenges, John used his strong family background and the wise words from his father to get him through these times.

"I have a multiracial family and I've faced challenges since the day I was born." John said. "Some of my extended family on both my mother's and my father's side let race get in the way of love and that hampered a great relationship. My father always told me that racism is fueled by ignorance."

John's most recent accomplishment was being selected as the command chief of 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

"Nothing can be more humbling than being selected to be a command chief." John said "That's something when I came in I never would've dreamed I'd become a chief, let alone a command chief. The opportunity to go up and join the leadership team and serve Airmen and their families as well as accomplish the mission at the wing level is awesome. I'm extremely excited about it."

With twenty-six years of service John is surely aware that his greatest memories are of him and the Airmen he impacted.

"A lot of leaders are remembered in a different way, but I want to make sure I am remembered as a hard working example for every Airman." John said.