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NEWS | July 15, 2015

Another leadership transition: 437th Airlift Wing command chief

By Col. John Lamontagne 437th Airlift Wing commander

This week we witnessed several changes of command ... the 628th Air Base Wing commander, the 437th Operations Group commander, and the 628th Mission Support Group commander.  There is however, another significant change as we said farewell to Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Hughes, the 437th Airlift Wing command chief.  This week Chief Hughes, his wife Lisa, and their kids Katie and Shawn PCS'd to McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., where Chief Hughes will become the 22nd Air Refueling Wing command chief. 

As a wing commander, I relied on Chief Hughes to provide me with critical and candid feedback across a variety of issues.  He was an incredible advisor, terrific leader, a great confidant, and provided me exactly the type of feedback I needed. Whether he believed I had made the correct decision or was heading down the wrong road, he let me know.  It doesn't mean that we always agreed (that's an impossible standard), but he never hesitated to tell me what he thought and why.  It is rare for a senior leader to receive that kind of candid feedback when announcing a new idea. People often say "yes sir, that's a great idea" even if they don't believe it, but not Chief Hughes. 

Chief Hughes also made a point to engage with lots of folks.  He and I tried to visit a different squadron every week in addition to the dozens of breakfasts and lunches that he had already scheduled with the enlisted force.  He also devoted time to engage with folks who were on the periphery of the team, ensuring that no one was overlooked or left out.  The bottom-line is Chief and Lisa Hughes dedicated a significant amount of time connecting with our Airmen.  They poured their blood, sweat, money, and tears into the wing and for that we owe them a tremendous THANK YOU!  Chief, Lisa, and the kids ... you will be dearly missed.  We wish you safe travels, a successful command chief tour at McConnell, and hope you leave with some fond memories. 

I am honored to announce that Chief Master Sgt. Kristopher Berg will be the next 437th Airlift Wing command chief.  He and his wife Amy will arrive with their three daughters in early August from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., where Chief Berg serves as the 302d Maintenance Group superintendent.  Chief Berg has demonstrated consistent and outstanding leadership during his 21 year career and he is excited to meet the team as well as our Joint Base partners.  When you see him, please extend your hand to welcome him and his family because they can't wait to work with you.