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La. Air National Guard welcomes newest chiefs during ceremony

By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana Air National Guard held its first Chief Induction Ceremony since 2019 at the Marriott New Orleans Metairie Hotel, on March 11, 2023, to recognize the achievements of 10 chief selectees as they were inducted to the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force: Chief Master Sergeant.

The 10 selectees are Chief Master Sgt. Jonathan Picou, 236th Combat Communications Squadron, Chief Master Sgt. Jacquelyn Campbell, 159th Force Support Squadron; Chief Master Sgt. Brian West, 214th Engineering Installation Squadron; Chief Master Sgt. Mark St. Germain, 159th Maintenance Group; Chief Master Sgt. Tracy McDonald, 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron; Chief Master Sgt. James Buchler, 159th Maintenance Squadron; Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Patnoad, 159th Civil Engineering Squadron; Chief Master Sgt. Erik Adams, Joint Force Headquarters; Chief Master Sgt. Doddie Currera, 159th Fighter Wing and Chief Master Sgt. Christy McGill, 159th Maintenance Squadron.

“The Chief Induction Ceremony is a way for Chief Master Sergeants and other senior leadership to honor newly promoted chiefs and their families,” said West, the Chiefs Council president and native of Lafayette. “It is a great opportunity for established chiefs and new chiefs to talk about the roles of a chief master sergeant.”

The annual event included a customary introduction for each inductee, dinner, guest speakers and concluded with each inductee signing the Chief’s Scroll.

“The significance of signing the Chief’s Scroll is to carry on a tradition of honor and to keep the legacy of the chiefs who have paved the way before us,” said Campbell, the Chief Council vice-president, and native of River Ridge.

Only one percent of the entire Air Force can hold the rank of chief master sergeant at any given time.

“Beyond the career and educational milestones that need to be achieved, I think ultimately it takes the belief that it can be done and the desire to get there,” said Patnoad of Belle Chasse. “Making the rank of Chief is also not something that anyone has done alone. It is the result of time invested by supervisors, mentors and fellow Airmen to help you and the squadron be successful in the events that have shaped your career.”

Chief master sergeants, as the highest enlisted rank, hold key leadership roles throughout the Air Force, often serving as command chiefs advising the wing commander on issues affecting the force, commandants, functional career field managers and superintendents.

In addition to holding key leadership roles, chiefs are charged with mentoring and developing junior enlisted personnel within their units and the organization.

Patnoad advises Airmen to get out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves as often as possible.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff, don’t wait to achieve the milestones needed for advancement,” said Patnoad. “Change happens unexpectedly and quickly, and you’ll want to make sure you’re ready to capitalize on it when it comes…These are the moments when real growth happens.”

After recognizing the new inductees, the Chiefs Council recognized six retired chief master sergeants and presented them with the Chief’s Bust and Senior Enlisted Eagle Award.

The retirees are Chief Master Sgt. Scott Favre, 33 years of service; Chief Master Sgt. Von Fish, 32 years of service; Chief Master Sgt. Shannon Mason, 32 years of service; Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Mitchell, 28 years of service; Chief Master Sgt. Moira Ortiz, 28 years of service also presented the 2019 Chief of the Year Award and Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Smallwood, 32 years of service.

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