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August Chief's Perspective

Chief Master Sgt. Dayne Peterson, 169th Fighter Wing command chi

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Dayne Peterson, the 169th Fighter Wing command chief at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, July 3, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

I am Chief Master Sgt. Dayne Peterson and I have been blessed with the opportunity to be your Wing Command Chief. I was born in a little town in Ohio named Xenia, famous only for the 1974 tornado that almost erased it from the map. At six months of age, I moved to a still smaller town in Ohio named Spring Valley, population around 375 and famous for not much of anything. My parents still live in that same house today. I am definitely a product of small-town USA where street lights and lightning bugs were the signal to get my butt home at night. 

I joined the Ohio Air National Guard in 1986 after a nearly twelve-month college career at Wright State University. The most important thing I learned from Wright State was that it was the wrong time for me to be in college. I looked at the ANG as an opportunity to get job skills and money for college for when the time came that I was ready. I was ready seventeen years later, but that is a story for some other time.

Now that you know a little about me let’s talk about destiny. Believe it or not, even as a person who was born and raised in Ohio, I was destined to become a Swamp Fox! I have vivid memories of my first exposure to the legend of Francis Marion. When I was about ten years old, I was watching the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night. Side note, The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday night was a fraud perpetrated by Disney and parents all around America to make getting up for school on Monday seem not so bad: for eight Sundays in a row, they aired a different episode of a miniseries based on Francis Marion the Swamp Fox. 

Then, in 2008 I was working for the National Guard Bureau Directorate of Manpower, Organization and Resources. The 169th FW was one of my units and I came to McEntire on temporary duty for the Aerospace Control Alert site activation task force. Again, a long story for a different day but I was treated as if I was already one of you. I fell in love with the wing and always had it in the back of my mind as a future place to serve.

As fate would have it, along comes a job opportunity in the Force Support Squadron. This is not 2018 when I was hired as the FSS Superintendent. This was much earlier when I was turned down for the position. Later still, there was another opportunity that didn’t work out. Destiny you say? Then why not until 2018? I had growing to do! I was not yet worthy of my destiny. Thankfully I was allowed to grow, to develop, and learn to serve Airmen. The lesson here is that it is a privilege to be a Swamp Fox. Not everyone is cut out for it and your opportunities here should be cherished.

Now for the “Chief’s Perspective” part of the “Chief’s Perspective” article. In his forward to the book “So Ya Wanna Be the Chief?” D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas writes,

“From a Native American perspective, the Chief was responsible for the very survival and success of a tribe. Chiefs would endure any hardship, sacrifice and even death if it meant the continuation of their people.”  

I hope and pray that we are never in a life or death situation or that we are fighting for our very survival. But I want you to understand the statement above speaks to the level of service you can expect from me. Not a single person in this organization works for me, I work for all of you! Obviously, the responsibilities of a command chief are to focus on enlisted issues. However, when you get down to it, I am the command chief for the wing. Nowhere in the job description does it say I do not support the officers and their families, or the active associates and their families, or the Title 5 civilians and their families, or the state employees and their families, or the contractors that come on base and do work for the wing. Get the point? I am here to serve those who drive through the McEntire gate to serve.

I am fired up and can’t wait to get after it!