MTANG says farewell to its command chief
By Maj. Rick Anderson, 120th Fighter Wing
/ Published June 10, 2009
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- After four decades of military service, Command Chief Master Sgt. Larry Seibel of the Montana Air National Guard was given a heartfelt farewell and a standing ovation for his service.
The accolades were many, and the empty seats were few as hundreds gathered to pay tribute to the chief. He received numerous gifts including a cherry-wood shadow box complete with all of the chief's awards and ribbons, gift certificates to a local and national sporting-goods store, and a framed sketching of his German Short Hair Pointer who he says is like one of his kids.
Chief Seibel, who first joined the Air Force in 1968, served tours in both Vietnam and Iraq. He said his most memorable moment as a command chief was when he was deployed to Iraq where he performed duties as the command chief. "I was responsible for over 2,000 airmen and the base had a total population of 5,000 air and army personnel," said Chief Seibel. "It was an enormous challenge and I'm glad I had the opportunity."
A common thread in the stories and experiences told by each of the distinguished guests described the chief as a great role model for all Montanans. Brig. Gen. Bradley Livingston described his positive example, Col. Michael McDonald expressed his appreciation of the chief's honest answers, and Col. Pete Hronek illustrated the lighter side of Chief Seibel when they both deployed to Iraq and his ability to relate and motivate the young service members.
"I've always tried to do the best I could for the men and women of the 120th Fighter Wing and the Montana Air National Guard," said Chief Seibel. "This is a world-class organization with Montanans, that encompass Montana, and it's great that they would honor me in this way." He went on to say that the toughest part about retiring is that he will miss the people.
During the ceremony, Chief Seibel presented daughter Ashley and his mother Lillian with a bouquet of flowers. He also presented his wife Patti with flowers and described her as the most influential person in his life. "She has always been there for me in everything I have done and supported my career 100 percent," said Chief Seibel. "My plans after retirement are to get more involved with my daughter's school events."
Chief Seibel has performed many notable duties including flying on Air Force One and executing administrative duties in direct support of President Gerald Ford. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1976 and joined the Montana Air National Guard in 1986.
He described his most memorable moment in the MTANG was in December 2004 when he was selected as the 120th Fighter Wing command chief. He served in that position for two wing commanders, retired Col. Mark Meyer and the current commander, Col. Michael McDonald.
The position of command chief master sergeant was renamed in November 1998 from its former title of senior enlisted advisor. The command chief master sergeant serves as senior advisors to commanders at the wing level. Command chiefs advise the commander on all enlisted matters, including all issues affecting the command's mission and operations, and the readiness, training, utilization, morale, technical and professional development, and quality of life of all enlisted members in the wing or organization. Command chiefs serve as the functional managers for all chief master sergeants and first sergeants in their organization.