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Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Richard D. Kisling was adviser to Secretary of the Air Force Robert C. Seamans Jr. and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. John D. Ryan on matters concerning welfare, effective utilization and progress of the enlisted members of the Air Force. He was the third chief master sergeant appointed to this ultimate noncommissioned officer position.

Chief Kisling was born in Mapleton, Iowa, and graduated from Castana (Iowa) High School in May 1941. He entered the U.S. Army in July 1944 and served overseas in the European area with the 3rd and 88th Infantry divisions. In April 1947,he re-enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was assigned to the Mobile Training Unit, Chanute Field, Ill. When the Air Force became a separate military service in 1947, he transferred to the Air Force and was in the personnel field during most of his career. In May 1948 he transferred to Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif., where he served as a personnel clerk, enlisted branch, Headquarters 4th Air Force. He was assigned to the 1261st Air Transport Squadron, Tripoli, Libya, in April 1950 and served as first sergeant.

He returned to the United States in April 1952 and was assigned as first sergeant of the 1707th Food Service Squadron, Palm Beach International Airport, West Palm Beach, Fla. In October 1952 he transferred to Amarillo, Texas, as first sergeant and personnel sergeant major with the 1739th Ferrying Squadron. In February 1954 Chief Kisling was assigned to the Southwest Recruiting District, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He became sergeant major of the 3504th U.S. Air Force Recruiting Group, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas in May 1954. In 1956 he was selected as the Outstanding Support Airman of the Year for Air Force Recruiting Service.

Chief Kisling was sent to Chaumont, France, in August 1956 as base personnel sergeant major, 48th Tactical Fighter Wing. In August 1959 he became base personnel sergeant major at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and he was promoted to chief master sergeant Dec. 1, 1959. He was selected as the Outstanding Airman of the Year for 12th Air Force in 1960.

He transferred to March Air Force Base, Calif., in August 1961 for duty as Tactical Air Command personnel adviser to the 452nd Troop Carrier Wing of the Air Force Reserve. He was assigned as base personnel sergeant major at George Air Force Base, Calif., in September 1962.

In August 1963 Chief Kisling joined the U.S. Air Force Security Service as personnel sergeant major, European Security Region, Frankfurt, West Germany. In May 1967 he became noncommissioned officer in charge, programs and requirements division, deputy chief of staff, personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force Security Service, Kelly Air Force Base, Texas. He was selected as the senior airman adviser, U.S. Air Force Security Service in September 1969. He became chief master sergeant of the Air Force on Oct. 1, 1971 and he retired Sept. 30, 1973.

Upon his retirement, Chief Kisling continued serving the U.S. Air Force as a civil servant, assigned to the Air Staff. He served on the staff of the deputy chief of staff, personnel, from April 1975 through October 1982, and with the staff of the deputy chief of staff, administration, from November 1982 until his retirement from civil service on May 20, 1985. He was awarded the Exceptional Civilian Service Award in May 1985.

Chief Kisling died Nov. 3, 1985 at Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., as a result of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. His contributions and dedicated service to the Air Force and country spanned more than 40 years -- as a leader, a spokesperson and a great friend of the enlisted corps.

Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Good Conduct Medal with two oak leaf clusters and silver clasp

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Oct. 1, 1971


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