West Virginia Air Guard bids farewell to former State Command Chief

By Capt. Holli Nelson | West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | Jan. 8, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Airmen of the West Virginia Air National Guard bid farewell to former West Virginia State Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Fred Turner, Jr. during a formal retirement ceremony held Jan. 5, 2019, at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston.

Brig. Gen. Paige Hunter, Assistant Adjutant General - Air, presided over the ceremony which celebrated Turner’s 41 years of service and his family’s commitment to the United States Air Force and Air National Guard.

Hunter outlined the retiring Chief’s decades of service and his numerous accomplishments to family, friends and attendees of the event. She lauded his mentorship and leadership to the many West Virginia National Guard members he has impacted during his career and also highlighted the important role of his family, stating, “We truly appreciate all the sacrifices you’ve made so that he could serve the way he has for the nation and for us.”

“Thank you for all that you’ve done for our country,” Hunter concluded.

Turner entered the United States Air Force in 1976 and served as a crew chief on the C-141 aircraft at Norton Air Force Base, Calif., then later transferred to the California Air National Guard in 1982. During his 26 year tenure at the 146th Airlift Wing, he served in numerous roles of increasing responsibility within the maintenance field including stints in Aerospace Maintenance, Aerospace Ground Equipment Maintenance, Aircraft Fuels Systems repair and Quality Assurance.

Following his time in the California Air National Guard, Turner served as an evaluator at the Air National Guard Readiness Center, where he worked in the ANG’s Logistics Compliance Assessment Program (LCAP). Turner excelled in the program and quickly became recognized in the maintenance community as a nationwide leader in compliance and maintenance operations.

He later transferred to the West Virginia Air National Guard following a tour at the ANG Readiness Center. At the 130th Airlift Wing, he provided astute leadership and oversight of maintenance operations for the 130th Maintenance Group. His ability to lead and build cohesive teams and his in-depth knowledge of ANG operations resulted in him being selected as the Command Chief Master Sergeant for the 130th AW in 2013. Later that same year, he was selected as the 12th State Command Chief Master Sergeant for the WVANG, where he was the Adjutant General’s critical link for the enlisted force on all matters influencing their health, morale, welfare and effectiveness.

Turner is a veteran of numerous operations to include Desert Storm/Desert Shield, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Over the last few years he has worked at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, as the 9th Air Force Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve Rear Mission Support Element Superintendent. In this role, he provides critical insight to organize, train and equip the next generation of joint warfighters, one of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s focus areas, “Strengthening Joint Leaders and Teams.”

“A lot of what this West Virginia Air National Guard unit [the 130th AW] has accomplished over the last several years we can attribute to the contributions of Chief Turner,” said Command Chief Master Sgt. James Dixon, WVANG State Command Chief.

In his outgoing remarks, Turner discussed that service extends beyond ones time in uniform. From his time as a military child while his father was in the Air Force, to meeting his wife on temporary duty and serving alongside her in the Guard and friends stepping up to assist when his family needed it most, he alluded that service in the military affects more than just the individual service member.

“Forty one years has been a heck of a ride. I am so honored and privileged to be able to do all the things I’ve done. I loved being a crew chief, working in maintenance and on airplanes and working up to leadership positions, through deployments and with all the people I’ve met along the way,” Turner said.

He finished by thanking his family and friends for all their support and love through the years.

Rounding out his list of accomplishments, Turner was awarded the West Virginia Legion of Merit for his outstanding contributions to the United States Air Force and Air National Guard during the ceremony.