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Changing of the guard

Chief Master Sgt. Vic Guerra has served as the wing commad chief of the 171st Air Refueling Wing in Pittsburgh since January 2007. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Ann Young)

Chief Master Sgt. Vic Guerra has served as the wing commad chief of the 171st Air Refueling Wing in Pittsburgh since January 2007. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Ann Young)

PITTSBURGH -- During the upcoming change of authority ceremony on September 10, Chief Master Sgt. Ralph Braden will relinquish authority and I will accept the authority (and responsibility) of the position of Command Chief Master Sergeant for the State of Pennsylvania.

It's both an honor and a privilege to have been selected as your eighth State Command Chief. I appreciate the confidence that Maj. Gen. Craig and Maj. Gen. Sischo have shown in selecting me, and the support shown to me by my fellow Airmen, both enlisted and officer. I would also like to say thanks to my family, as this wouldn't be possible without their continued support. I'm sure most of you (if not all) can say the same, no matter what position you hold or where you are in your military career. So take the time to thank your family for their support and make sure you make time for them as well.

Thanks to Brig. Gen. Uptegraff and the entire 171st family for all of your support throughout the years and in this new endeavor as well. It's been very gratifying; a pleasure and an honor to serve as your Wing Command Chief, and I'll continue to serve you and the state in my new position as well.

Chief Braden is leaving us in good shape with programs and processes he has helped groom over his tenure, and I thank him for that, we all should. We will continue to groom those programs and processes as changes come our way and/or circumstances dictate.

I have an open door policy. Please feel free to drop me a note, stop by or stop me in my travels to discuss what might be on your mind, or just to say hi. I would urge you though, to try to work any issues you may have through your chain of command. Work with your supervisors, senior NCOs, First Sergeants and Chiefs. Most likely they've been involved in similar issues before and hopefully can help you resolve yours quickly. I know I have and will continue to rely on my fellow Chiefs, First Sergeants and other senior NCOs to work through issues. One person can't do it alone.

To my fellow enlisted Airmen, be ready and be prepared. I can tell you that when I started my career, I never dreamt I would make it as far as I have. Some opportunities you can foresee and plan for some of the time; however, they sneak up and surprise you. You can't always predict when opportunity is going to knock and you need to be prepared to open the door when it does. Have your professional military education courses completed. Be prepared; get it done.

In closing, I want to thank Chief Braden for his 38 years of service to our nation, and thank him for his camaraderie, friendship and mentorship. He will be missed. And to the Enlisted Core, I pledge to you to do my best to continue to promote the Enlisted Core, for you are the true core of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Through this "Changing of the Guard," I look forward to the opportunity to further serve such a great organization.