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Florida honors new Air National Guard Chiefs

Tyndall AFB, Fla. --

The Florida Air National Guard recently inducted ten new chiefs in a time-honored ceremony at Tyndall AFB, Florida.

“Now is the time to become the leader you always wanted to have” said Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Souza, Command Chief Master Sgt. for the 125th Fighter Wing.

Chiefs, enlisted, and officer leaders from all over the state attended the ceremony and welcomed their new counterparts in a formal ceremony that emphasized the importance of their leadership role on enlisted airmen and encouraged them to work harder than they ever have.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Richard Smith, former Command Chief of the Air National Guard was in attendance and spoke after dinner. He congratulated the news chiefs on their accomplishment of making it to the highest enlisted rank and went on to explain his philosophy on what a chief in the Air Force should be.

“It’s about your airmen- that’s who you work for. And now that you are a Chief Master Sergeant you should be working harder than you ever have in your career, by developing, training and mentoring airmen.” Smith Said.

The ceremony continued with lighting a candle for each rank the members had progressed through.  As the candle was lit, a brief explanation of what is expected at that rank was read until 9 candles were lit, representing E-1 though E-9. It culminated with all of the new chiefs standing in front of the candles and being welcomed to the top one percent by the senior chiefs.

“It’s nice that they do it formally where you get a chance to hear from leadership and what their expectations are and what they see you as.” Said Chief Master Sgt. Christine Martin, a newly inducted chief.

This was the first formal chief’s induction that had been held in many years.  It is a tradition the Florida Air National Guard plans to continue. The ceremony was well received and, according to Martin, gave the chiefs a renewed sense of purpose and motivation.

“It’s nice to have that re-invigoration of standing here and having the words said to you about how important this is- you’ve reached the epitome and you’re being recognized by your peers and that’s an incredible feeling.”