Command chief bids farewell after 33 years
By Tech. Sgt. Sam King, 919th Special Operations Wing public affairs
/ Published August 06, 2015
DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- The 919th Special Operations Wing's command chief bid his wing farewell Aug. 1 during his retirement ceremony here.
Chief Master Sgt. Tom Mason, a C-130E Combat Talon I loadmaster prior to accepting the wing's command chief position in 2013 retired after 33 years of service in the Air Force.
The entire wing turned out to say goodbye to the command chief with lavish presentations, speeches and ceremonies. Enlisted Airmen and officers from Mason's past took turns telling stories and reminiscing about the chief's antics, deployments and career.
Mason spent his entire career as a reservist and 23 years wing the 919th SOW. He deployed multiple times with the wing as a maintainer and loadmaster.
The chief said he held it together until he was overcome with emotion when presented with the folded flag by the Eglin Air Force Base honor guard. Then he addressed his wing one last time as their chief.
"We're extremely blessed to be here. This thing we do, it's not a career, it is a commitment. I owe a lot of people in this wing for where I am today," said the chief fighting back emotion.
Of all his career accomplishments, he said serving as a command chief was the greatest.
"Wearing this star on my sleeve the last few years was the best thing I've ever done," he said. "This is the pinnacle."
He also provided some words of wisdom to his replacement, Chief Master Sgt. Brian Bischoff.
"Welcome aboard, he said. " You've got a bunch of good people here. Take care of them."