Chief Master Sergeant: It's more than a job title

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. David Fish
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing
Four years ago, 30 people showed up outside my office. The wing commander, command chief, and a posse of colonels and chiefs from throughout the Wing were in the crowd. They had Chief Master Sergeant stripes in their hands, and one set was for me.

Chief Master Sergeant is the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force.

Today, Nov. 8, 2012, 454 of 1,981 eligible Senior Master Sergeants will receive their stripes and they too will become Chief Master Sergeants in the United States Air Force.

At Altus AFB, we will have the honor to recognize three individuals who will be promoted to Chief Master Sergeant in the next 12 months. This is one of the greatest honors bestowed upon an enlisted Airman, who from this day forward will be called Chief.

Although the Air Force has been an independent service since 1947, the rank of Chief Master Sergeant did not come into being until the authorization of the Military Pay Act of 1958. These acts established the pay grades of E-8 and E-9, but without specifying titles for those pay grades. It wasn't until late 1958 that the title of Chief Master Sergeant was decided upon.

Today, our Chief Master Sergeant selects are being recognized during the 54th anniversary of the rank, Chief Master Sergeant.

They will be required to sign a three-year service commitment. They will go home and talk this over with their families. Why? Because the Air Force will ask more of you and your families than it ever has before. You will be expected to take any position at any location where there is a need for a Chief. It's more than a contract - it's a commitment to the citizens of the United States of America and your fellow Airmen.

Some of them will be asked to serve as a squadron superintendent, group superintendent, career field manager, commandants, command chief, and some might be asked to serve in the highest enlisted position in the Air Force as the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. What an honor it would be to serve in any of these positions.

Personally, I would like to congratulate each and everyone one of you. You're Airmen, peers, leaders, and most importantly, your families helped you achieve this goal. Make sure you thank them all for all of their sacrifices over the past two decades while serving in the best Air Force in the world.

You have now made it to the top of the enlisted force structure. Show your commitment to all Airmen, because all eyes are on you now.

I wish you and your families all the best as you receive these stripes, well deserved.