KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The newest chiefs from Kirtland Air Force Base were recognized during a ceremony March 31 at the Mountain View Club. The five new chiefs, three from active duty and two from the Air National Guard, were joined by their families and coworkers to celebrate their achievements. The new chiefs are:
- Chief Master Sgt. Virgil Castro, Air Force Inspection Agency
- Chief Master Sgt. Scott Daniels, 150th Maintenance Squadron
- Chief Master Sgt. Laura Magas, 377th Weapons Systems Security Forces
- Chief Master Sgt. Vanessa Ortega, 150th Mission Support Group
- Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Stehle, 898th Munitions Squadron
The evening began with Col. Jason Vattioni, Commander, 377th Air Base Wing, and Chief Master Sgt. Stephanie Cates, Command Chief, 377th Air Base Wing, presenting medallions in a ceremony to honor the Airmen. The medallions were to signify their accomplishments as they rose to the highest enlisted rank.
Following dinner with a slide show highlighting the new chiefs' careers, Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Sandoval, State Command Chief for the New Mexico Air National Guard, spoke to the approximately 100 in attendance as the guest speaker.
“This ceremony has a special place in my heart, and I absolutely love all the traditions associated with it. I have come full circle, my induction ceremony was here in 2017, and this evening I have the privilege of addressing this wonderful audience,” said Sandoval.
He went on to share some thoughts and give the new chiefs 10 tools to add to their toolbox, such as: Find a way to yes, achieve a sustainable work-life balance, don’t be a good idea chief, and speak truth to power.
“For me, reaching this point is all about the team that helped me get there, from my Airmen and supervisors, to my family who supported me,” said Castro. “Even though I was the one being celebrated, it felt more like a validation of their support for me. For me, I couldn't help but think of all the times that I had to be away from home, miss anniversaries, birthdays to put in the hours at the unit for my Airmen, and how without my family's support, I would not have been able to make it.”
Chief master sergeants serve as key leaders in all levels of the Air Force. Mandated by Congress, only 1.5 percent of Air Force enlisted Airmen can hold the rank of chief. They serve as mentors, senior leader advisors, managers and in many other leadership roles.