Wing welcomes new command chief
By Senior Airman Jonathan Young and Airman 1st Class Kari Giles, 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 18, 2011
St. Paul -- The 133rd Airlift Wing changed command chiefs on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011 in the south hanger of the Air National Guard base here. Chief Master Sgt. David Speich, 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron, relinquished his authority after three and half years to Chief Master Sgt. Paul Kessler, 133rd Communications Flight. The change of authority of the highest enlisted position in the organization of over 1200 Airmen was attended by members from all over the Wing and many special guests.
The ceremony was a combination of remembering the great job Speich had done during his time here, and looking forward to what Kessler will bring to the position. Col. Greg Haase, 133rd AW commander, began by talking about how important command chiefs are to their Wings. They offer so much to a Wing like being an advisor, mentor, and leader, he said.
Haase compared Speich's passion for fishing to his style of work. When the unit was having trouble making a decision for the Wing, "Chief Speich would either bait us into making the right decision, feed us enough line until we saw the solution, or sometimes he would outright set the hook", Haase said. Speich never put himself above anything and always understood this was bigger than him, he added.
Speich then received the Minnesota Medal of Merit from Haase for his service over the past three and half years. The Command Chief of the Minnesota Air National Guard, Chief Master Sgt. Greg Close, also presented a plaque of the command chief chevron for his service to the state.
During his first day as command chief Haase told Speich never to embarrass the Wing. Speich laughed as he was reminded of what pressure came with that statement. He then turned to Haase and said, "It's been an honor and privilege to be part of your professional leadership team." He then talked about how important each individual Airman is to the Wing and the work they do individually is critical to the entire mission.
Haase returned to the podium then turned to Kessler and began by saying that he was excited about the wealth of experience and professionalism he would bring to this position. He went on to say that the Adjutant General has six priorities, one of which is cyber operations. Haase said that he couldn't think of a better person to help with that than Kessler due to his ten years experience as chief of the communications flight. Haase then read a lengthy list of statements that Kessler will have to follow, answering "I will," to all of them. Kessler later joked about it being a lot of, "I wills."
Kessler finally spoke about the honor of taking over the position from Speich. He thanked several people from senior leadership, fellow Airmen, and his family. He took time to thank his uncle Gerry Heuring, a former captain in the Air Force and an F-4 aviator in the Vietnam War, who flew several combat missions saving many lives and seldom was thanked, Kessler said.
"Jerry on behalf of those in front of you today, thank you," Kessler said as he saluted the former officer.
There seems to be little doubt of the great job Speich did during his time here, and just as little doubt of the job Kessler will do as the new command chief. He said he will work tirelessly making sure Airmen will take care of each other, so that all are ready, willing and able to face the tasks ahead of us. The ceremony ended as the wing recited the Airman's Creed with pride.