HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Achieving the rank of chief master sergeant is the apex of an Air Force enlisted person’s career.
It is the ninth and highest enlisted rank as a non-commissioned officer and represents the top one percent of the U.S. Air Force.
Hill Air Force Base recognized the base’s newest chief master sergeants in a ceremony March 10 at the Ogden Eccles Conference Center. The chiefs were honored with medallion presentations, a sabre arch introduction, toasts, and a candle-lighting ceremony that represented each of the nine service’s enlisted ranks.
The chief master sergeant (selects) are:
• Neil W. Barker, 388th Maintenance Squadron
• Aaron K. Butler, 419th Civil Engineer Squadron
• John C. Filbert, 388th Maintenance Squadron
• Jeffery A. Isenberg, 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron
• David W. Jackson, 348th Recruiting Squadron
• Zam L. Urquhart, 75th Air Base Wing
“It is a great honor to have the opportunity to serve as a chief master sergeant,” said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Engel, Superintendent of the 466th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. “I feel blessed I was able to have such great mentors that opened doors for me and for having such a supportive wife and kids that allowed me the extra time and effort it took me to get through those doors. I am excited that I can now be the one opening those doors for my Airmen, to help create future chiefs.”
Leading Airmen comes with many expectations of not only those under them, but from all the chiefs that came before them, which was the theme of the night, ‘Never forget where we come from.’
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Murray, the 14th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, served as guest speaker for the event and spoke of those expectations.
“You are now a senior leader in the United States Air Force,” Murray said. “There are great chiefs that went before us – 59 years of history of senior NCOs serving and leading Airmen that have paved the way for you to set the bar higher.
“You now have the influence and power that you’ve never have had before individually and collectively,” he continued. “I expect you to understand how best to take that power and infuse it with our officers, to give our officers the ability to lead greater in the future, which will continue to ensure we’ll be the greatest air force in the world.”
Chief Master Sgt. (Select) John Filbert, 388th Maintenance Squadron, said that being a chief is being placed in a unique position of trust.
“It is an intertwined dichotomy of both servitude and leadership,” he said. “I’ll strive to exceed those expectations, never achieving perfection, but hopefully hitting excellence along the journey.
“I gauge success in showing up today a better Airman today than I was yesterday,” Filbert said.