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Command Chief retires after 41 years of service

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jonathan Russell
  • 117th Air Refueling Wing
Command Chief Master Sgt. Mickey R. Phillips retirement ceremony was held today here on base.

The command chief is the highest ranking enlisted member in the 117th Air Refueling Wing. Phillips was the fourth command chief to serve the commander of the 117th Air Refueling Wing. Chief Master Sgt. David Bullard will serve as the new command chief for the 117th Air Refueling Wing.

"How can you encapsulate a 41 year career in a few words? I have known Chief Phillips a very long time and I have served with him throughout the wing. He was truly a mentor, a friend and he taught me a lot about leadership," said the 117th Air Refueling Wing Commander Col. Cliff James.

Phillips enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1971 after graduating from Holly Pond High School. He joined the Alabama Air National Guard in 1973 through the Palace Chase program. He began his career as a personnel specialist, then cross-trained to the logistics plans career field in 1979. During his career Phillips worked as a logistician in aircraft maintenance as the programs mobility technician. His military assignments were highlighted by his service as the first sergeant for the 117th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from 1989 to early 1997. In 2001, he became the non-commissioned officer in charge of wing logistics plans. Phillips served on numerous boards and working groups for the Air National Guard. He was also called upon to augment the Air Mobility Command Inspector General on several occasions.

During his career Phillips deployed to England twice, the United Arab Emirates, Curacao, Italy, Alaska twice and numerous times to both Turkey and Guam. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal four times, the Air Force Achievement Medal twice, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award four times, the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal eleven times along with eleven other medals and five ribbons.

At the end of his retirement ceremony Phillips gave these inspirational words to the wing. "Be the best, perform to the standards and remember that our airmen are flesh and blood. They are not numbers."

The 117th Air Refueling Wing would like to thank Command Chief Master Sgt. Phillips and his family for their 41 years of service and sacrifice.