Cannon celebrates newest chiefs, selects

U.S. Air Force Col. Ben Maitre, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, stands with the evening’s five honorees, Chief Master Sgt. Robert Gibbons II, 352nd Special Operations Wing Provisional and Joint Special Operations Air Component Europe command chief, and Chief Master Sgt. Randy Scanlan, 27th SOW command chief, at the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, March 4, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Only one of every 100 airmen will ever achieve the rank of chief. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexxis Mercer)

U.S. Air Force Col. Ben Maitre, 27th Special Operations Wing commander, stands with the evening’s five honorees, Chief Master Sgt. Robert Gibbons II, 352nd Special Operations Wing Provisional and Joint Special Operations Air Component Europe command chief, and Chief Master Sgt. Randy Scanlan, 27th SOW command chief, at the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, March 4, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Only one of every 100 airmen will ever achieve the rank of chief. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexxis Mercer)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. James Wadas, 27th Special Operations Communications Squadron superintendent, stands behind the fallen warrior tribute during the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, March 4, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Air Commandos, families and friends gathered to honor and toast the evening’s high-achievers whose commitment and dedication to the Air Force allowed them to reach the highest level of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexxis Mercer)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. James Wadas, 27th Special Operations Communications Squadron superintendent, stands behind the fallen warrior tribute during the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, March 4, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Air Commandos, families and friends gathered to honor and toast the evening’s high-achievers whose commitment and dedication to the Air Force allowed them to reach the highest level of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexxis Mercer)

A U.S. Air Force airman basic lights a candle during the candle ceremony at the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, March 4, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Promotion to the rank of chief master sergeant is said to be the pinnacle of one’s enlisted military career, and arguably one of the most significant achievements in such a professional’s life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexxis Mercer)

A U.S. Air Force airman basic lights a candle during the candle ceremony at the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, March 4, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Promotion to the rank of chief master sergeant is said to be the pinnacle of one’s enlisted military career, and arguably one of the most significant achievements in such a professional’s life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexxis Mercer)

A U.S. Air Force senior master sergeant lights the eighth candle during the candle ceremony at the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, March 4, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The Career Compensation Act of 1958 allowed Congress to limit the Air Force in promoting two percent of the enlisted force to the grade of senior master sergeant and one percent to the grade of chief master sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexxis Mercer)

A U.S. Air Force senior master sergeant lights the eighth candle during the candle ceremony at the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, March 4, 2015 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. The Career Compensation Act of 1958 allowed Congress to limit the Air Force in promoting two percent of the enlisted force to the grade of senior master sergeant and one percent to the grade of chief master sergeant. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexxis Mercer)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- It was a night of tradition and celebration for five accomplished Air Commandos during the annual Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, March 4.

Air Commandos, families and friends gathered to honor and toast the evening’s high-achievers whose commitment and dedication to the Air Force allowed them to reach the highest level of the enlisted force.

Promotion to the rank of chief master sergeant is said to be the pinnacle of one’s enlisted military career, and arguably one of the most significant achievements in such a professional’s life. Only one of every 100 airmen will ever achieve the rank of chief.

It took the Air Force 11 years after its inception in 1947 to create the final two ranks of senior and chief master sergeant. World War I and the Korean War pushed for the demand of enlisted leaders with technical ability, formal education and military qualifications who could assume broader responsibilities and authority.

The Career Compensation Act of 1958 allowed Congress to limit the Air Force in promoting two percent of the enlisted force to the grade of senior master sergeant and one percent to the grade of chief master sergeant.

During the first promotion cycle after the inception of the Career Compensation Act, the Air Force promoted 625 chiefs from the eligible 58,000. There were no line numbers at that time; all 625 selects were promoted the same day – Dec. 1, 1959.

These 625 chiefs became known as the ‘Charter Chiefs’; and of those, less than 50 are still alive today. It was as true then as it is today… their dedicated service and embodiment of the highest Air Force standards define the blueprint for future chiefs to emulate and strive for.

“I am going to break down ‘chiefs’ into the following acronym,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Gibbons II, 352nd Special Operations Wing Provisional and Joint Special Operations Air Component Europe command chief. “C stands for credibility; H stands for humility; I stands for integrity; E stands for excellence; F stands for faith-family; and S stands for sincerity. Remember, your stripes do not belong to you… they belong to your airmen.”

Cannon’s five honorees were:
Chief Master Sgt. Heath Tempel, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron
Chief Master Sgt. Davide Keaton, 26th Special Tactics Squadron
Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Duplechain, 27th Special Operations Support Squadron
Senior Master Sgt. Paul Burger, 727th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Senior Master Sgt. James Wadas, 27th Special Operations Communications Squadron