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Creech AFB leaders laud senior master sergeant selectees

Chief Master Sgt. John, left, 432nd Maintenance Group and Maj. Seanna, 432nd Maintenance Squadron commander, pin on Master Sgt. Gordon, 432nd MXS accountable munitions systems officer, with his newly earned rank of senior master sergeant at his home.  Leadership from the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing made sure that Creech Air Force Base’s newest senior master sergeants and their families were personally recognized for their achievements with an unexpected visit at their home. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. N.B.)

Chief Master Sgt. John, left, 432nd Maintenance Group and Maj. Seanna, 432nd Maintenance Squadron commander, pin on Master Sgt. Gordon, 432nd MXS accountable munitions systems officer, with his newly earned rank of senior master sergeant at his home. Leadership from the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing made sure that Creech Air Force Base’s newest senior master sergeants and their families were personally recognized for their achievements with an unexpected visit at their home. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. N.B.)

Col. James Cluff, left, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, and Master Sgt. Danell’s family tack on his newly earned senior master sergeant stripes during a surprise visit by the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing leadership. Leadership from the 432nd Wing traveled to the homes of Creech Air Force Base’s selectees to personally congratulate them and their families on their selection for promotion. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. C.R.)

Col. James Cluff, left, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, and Master Sgt. Danell’s family tack on his newly earned senior master sergeant stripes during a surprise visit by the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing leadership. Leadership from the 432nd Wing traveled to the homes of Creech Air Force Base’s selectees to personally congratulate them and their families on their selection for promotion. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. C.R.)

Col. James Cluff, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, personally congratulates Master Sgt. Gordon, 432nd Maintenance Squadron accountable munitions systems officer, and his family on his selection to senior master sergeant. Leadership from the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing made sure that Creech Air Force Base’s newest senior master sergeants and their families were personally recognized for their achievements with an unexpected visit at their home. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. C.R.)

Col. James Cluff, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, personally congratulates Master Sgt. Gordon, 432nd Maintenance Squadron accountable munitions systems officer, and his family on his selection to senior master sergeant. Leadership from the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing made sure that Creech Air Force Base’s newest senior master sergeants and their families were personally recognized for their achievements with an unexpected visit at their home. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. C.R.)

Master Sgt. Gordon, 432nd Maintenance Squadron accountable munitions systems officer, thanks the first sergeants, squadron commanders and chiefs who came to his home to offer their congratulations to him and his family after being notified of his selection to senior master sergeant. Gordon said he was thankful for the opportunity to share this experience with his family for the first time since making the rank of senior airman below the zone.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. C.R.)

Master Sgt. Gordon, 432nd Maintenance Squadron accountable munitions systems officer, thanks the first sergeants, squadron commanders and chiefs who came to his home to offer their congratulations to him and his family after being notified of his selection to senior master sergeant. Gordon was thankful for the opportunity to share this experience with his family for the first time since making the rank of senior airman below the zone. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. C.R.)

LAS VEGAS (AFNS) -- For many, advancing to the top of the senior NCO tier is a significant and personally demanding accomplishment. Airmen and families who equally endure these trials were recently congratulated here in a very personal way.

Leaders from the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing made sure that Creech Air Force Base's newest senior master sergeants and their families were personally recognized for their achievements with an unexpected visit at their home.

"It's important to recognize senior enlisted Airmen for their achievements because they are shaping the future of our Air Force by leading through example," said Col. James Cluff, the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "I felt that it was important that we honored the newest Creech (AFB) senior master sergeant selects by congratulating them at home, where they are surrounded by everyone who's important to them, to make this experience even more memorable."

First sergeants, squadron commanders and chiefs were among the first to congratulate a few of Creech AFB's 10 selectees. For one family, the congratulations came in the form of a bitter-sweet surprise at a deployed spouse's dinner.

"My husband tested prior to leaving for his deployment so having him make it is amazing," said Tammy, the wife of Master Sgt. Jody, the assistant aircraft maintenance unit superintendent with the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "I am very proud to accept his stripes for him but wish he was here to celebrate with me. Either way, I'm glad the stress of not knowing is over so he can focus on other things while deployed."

Chief Master Sgt. Butch Brien, the 432nd Wing and 432nd AEW command chief, explained his view on the Air Force's 6 percent promotion rate to senior master sergeant and why Creech AFB leaders felt it necessary to notify selectees in person.

"During the current climate where (Air Force) promotion rates are dropping and promotions are becoming more competitive, gaining rank is possible and is an indication of the member's determination," Brien said. "Visiting Airmen at home shows them that Team Creech values the families that make doing our job easier and that we're determined to make them feel like a part of the family as much as possible."

For one selectee, the visit from so many caring and familiar faces made the experience unforgettable and one he had not encountered during his two tours as a first sergeant.

"I was truly honored to have the commander recognize me at my home and have my family join in," said Master Sgt. Gordon, an accountable munitions systems officer with the 432nd Maintenance Squadron. "This was the first time since making senior airman below the zone that my family was able to participate."

Another selectee, Master Sgt. Danell, with the 432nd Operations Support Squadron, shared Gordon's admiration to Creech AFB leaders' personal touch.

"In my 18 years of service I have never seen anything like this," Danell said. "Wow, Creech, thank you so much! I'm in this Air Force for the long haul and my goal is to become chief master sergeant of the Air Force one day."

Danell had just arrived to the Las Vegas area a few days prior, when base leaders arrived at his doorstep to congratulate him on his selection. He expressed how humbling the personal gesture was and that it reinforced his desire to support Airmen and continue to serve in the Air Force.

In total, 12.1 percent of eligible Creech Airmen were selected for promotion; double that of the Air Force average.

"It truly speaks volumes to the leaders and mentors at Creech (AFB) that we produced nearly double the Air Force's average senior master sergeant selects this year," Brien said.

(Editor's Note: Some names have been withheld for security purposes.)

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