Ellsworth bids farewell to command chief, honors his 30 years of service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Anania Tekurio
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the final in a series of four articles on the Journey to Chief, what it takes to become a chief master sergeant and their experiences in their careers.

As we near the end of the 2015 summer season, Ellsworth bids farewell to Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Peterson, former 28th Bomb Wing command chief, and recognizes his 30 years of active-duty service in the U.S. Air Force.

"It's been an unbelievable experience," Peterson said. "I've had an amazing career and feel truly blessed."

Peterson grew up in the small town of Geneseo, Illinois. At an early age, he knew he wanted to serve his country, so he enlisted into the Air Force Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, 1985.

"I was working summers doing construction," Peterson said. "I was tired of the time-off and time-on work schedule and a friend of mine suggested I look into the military."

Peterson said his family and friends supported his decision to join.

"I didn't come from a military family," Peterson said. "But when I told [them] I wanted to join, they were very supportive and excited for me."

He saw the military as an opportunity, not just for steady work and a chance to get out and see the world, but also for higher education.

"At the time, there weren't as many resources available to help one go to college like there are today," Peterson said. "I knew I wanted to continue pursuing education and the Air Force gave me that opportunity."

After basic military training, Peterson attended technical school at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, where he learned about ammunition technology. Following graduation, Peterson entered the operational Air Force at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida,.

"I was a six-year enlistee," Peterson said. "I figured if I signed for four years, I wouldn't take it as seriously as if I did six. But I never had it as a goal to do 30."

He added that throughout his 30 years of service, he has been fortunate to be a part of several missions as well as being guided by great leadership.

"The time went by fast," Peterson said. "I thought at most I would do 20 years and retire, but you have those that come into your life who guide you and make an impact, then next thing you know you're a senior non-commissioned officer and then the unthinkable happens and you make chief."

Throughout his career, he has learned that being a command chief is truly about the people -take care of people and there will be success.

"If your people succeed, then you succeed," Peterson said. "I owe my successes to a strong work ethic, great guidance and leadership, but most importantly, to my family and their unwavering support."