JACKSONVILLE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Fla. --
Federal law prohibits more than 1% of the enlisted force from reaching the prestigious rank of chief master sergeant.
Brig. Gen. Brian M. Simpler, commander, Florida Air National Guard, welcomed and congratulated the chiefs on their accomplishment.
“You have the watch,” Simpler said. “Now it is up to you to carry on that tradition.”
The 12 inductees continue a tradition that began 61 years ago; the rank of chief master sergeant did not exist until 1958 when Congress authorized the rank with the Career Compensation Act of that same year. Chief master sergeants serve as advisors to unit commanders and senior officers, and as mentors to non-commissioned officers and junior enlisted members.
Simpler continued, “Our NCOs are better trained, better educated, and are more empowered than any other military in the world. The Florida Air National Guard is the best in the Air Force because of our chiefs!”
During the ceremony, nine candles were lit. These candles represent each of the enlisted grades of the Air Force. An honor guard member lit each of the candles individually to commemorate each of the enlisted milestones in a chief’s career.
Chief Master Sergeant Alison M. Blitch, emergency management superintendent, remarked that it was an honor to be recognized among her peers and to be selected for this rank.
Blitch has served in the Air Force for 20 years. She completed her first three years of military service with the Air Force Reserve as an air transportation troop. She credits one of her former commanders with grooming her into the senior NCO she is.
“Lt. Col. Brian A. Vitetta taught me to be firm, but fair and the appreciation of hard work,” said Blitch.
Blitch, who is also the first female chief in emergency management in the entire national guard, wants to be remembered for her caring and fair demeanor. She offers some words of advice to future Airmen who aspire to be a chief.
“Work hard, put your heart into it, and give it your all even on the days you don’t feel like it,” she said.
Congratulations to FANG’s newest chiefs!