FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - For the first time in its 67 year history, a woman has been promoted to command chief at the 122nd Fighter Wing.. Christine A Hutchins was promoted to Chief Master Sgt. on Saturday during a ceremony at the base.
Hutchins, a Homestead High School graduate, has worked at the base since 1982.
"I'm very honored," Hutchins said. "Being the first female is a great accomplishment, but it's an even greater accomplishment being selected to be the command chief for the enlisted force here in Fort Wayne."
The 122nd Fighter WIng held a Command Chief change of authority and promotion ceremony on Saturday September 14. Hutchins was promoted to Chief Master Sgt. and Chief Master Sgt. James E. Salway II passed the responsibilities of the position of the 122nd Fighter Wing's Command Chief on to Hutchins.
Hutchins has has several promotions over her career. "I was just a clerk typist," she said. "That's where I started out."
The following is a list of Hutchins' promotions:
- Staff Sergeant - September 1985.
- Technical Sergeant - November 1991.
- Master Sergeant - November 1994.
- Senior Master Sergeant - March 2005.
- Chief Master Sergeant - September 2013.
Duties of the Wing's command chief include understanding the challenges ahead of the base's airmen, as they continue to fill an operational role overseas and protect the Indiana homeland. Hutchins understands the challenges of conversion, grad leveling and airman development. She will represent the enlisted force, and be their collective voice who speak to the wing's leadership.
"She will be an ambassador on not only the local or state scene but also the national scene for airman programs, her keen eye towards morale will allow us to enhance family programs and airmen programs alike," Colonel David L. Augustine, the 122nd Fighter Wing Commander, said.
Hutchins told NewsChannel 15 that she's aware that the fighter wing is facing challenges, including keeping the base a fighter unit.
"We have our A-10s," Hutchins said. "For us to get to the F-35, we need stepping stones to get there. We might have to get the F-16, but we have to get there to stay in the fighter realm."
In her new role, Hutchins said she hopes to get other women more involved in the program.
"It's easy for me to talk to the individuals, and recognize them to their supervisors," Hutchins said. "If I hear them say something in an interview that might be innovative that their particular supervisor hasn't heard, then I'll try to share those ideas with them and say they might want to listen to more of their ideas."
Hutchins replaces Salway, who has been selected to serve as the State Command Chief for the Indiana Air National Guard at Joint Force Headquarters in Indianapolis. Augustine said of both Chiefs, “Men and women of the 122nd Fighter Wing, this is a momentous occasion for all of us, I could not be prouder of these two blacksnakes that we honor today, they represent the very best of the Air Force, the Air National Guard and the 122nd Fighter Wing.” He said to Chief Master Sgt. Hutchins, “You are the right leader for the right time, at the right place, to follow in the footsteps of Command Chief Salway. I say ~follow~ lightly because I know that you will make your own tracks just as Chief Salway did in taking this wing to new heights. This is a very important day in the history of the wing, a historic event, we salute promoting our first ever female airman into the position of Wing Command Chief!”
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