Fire Chief Hangs Up Helmet After 42 Years

McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee --
The 134th Civil Engineering Squadron recognized the retirement of Base Fire Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth M. Smith, in a retirement ceremony held here on January 8, 2011.

Chief Smith was a member of the 134th Air Refueling Wing for more than 42 years. He began his career in 1968 and officially retired April 24, 2010.In recognition of his long and distinguished career, Chief Smith was presented with the National Guard Minute Man Statue, a hand-made stained-glass artwork, and a shadow board reflecting his career and accomplishments in the Air National Guard. The fire department also presented Chief Smith with a custom made fishing rod and a fire fighter's helmet with the Chief's fire chief shield on the front.

On behalf of the McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base Chief's Council, Command Chief Master Sgt. Jimmy Long presented Chief Smith with a chief's bust, an item usually presented to those being promoted to the rank of Chief. Chief Long explained that Chief Smith was a Chief long before the council started presenting the busts. Chief Smith attained the rank of Chief Master Sgt. in 1992. He became the Base Fire Chief in 1983.

Cynthia Smith, wife of Chief Smith, was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a letter of appreciation for her support of Chief Smith throughout his career.

134 CES Commander Lt. Col. Chico Messer described his years of service with Chief Smith. "His integrity and character are totally without question. His leadership has been phenomenal, and you've planted a good seed on fertile ground," said Lt. Col. Messer.

Chief Smith addressed the crowd by putting the length of his service into perspective. He referred to the pictures of all of the 134 ARW wing commanders on the wall in the Wing Conference Room. He served under all of them but one.

Chief Smith attributes his successes to the blessingsof God. He said he didn't have any relationships at the base when he first came to visit, but God opened many
doors for him throughout his career and brought him to where he is today.