State's newest top enlisted Airman takes charge

  • Published
  • By Technical Sgt. Cheresa Theiral
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (10/4/09) - The newest senior enlisted member of the Colorado Air National Guard took responsibility during a unique ceremony at the Leadership Development Center.

The change of authority followed a Purple Heart presentation - an even rarer event for Command Chief Master Sgt. Bruce A. Mey relinquished the title of Colorado Air National Guard State Command Chief Master Sergeant to Command Chief Master Sgt. Annadele F. Kenderes.

The change of responsibility ceremony followed a Purple Heart presentation - and even rarer event in the COANG - to Tech. Sgt. Richard Gibbons, an explosive ordnance technician with the 140th Civil Engineer Squadron who was recently injured in Afghanistan.

Command chief master sergeants are responsible for advising commanders on all enlisted matters, including mission, operations, readiness, training, utilization, morale, technical and professional development, and quality of life. They are also the functional managers for all chief master sergeants and first sergeants in their entire organizations. In addition to advising leaders, they are also mentors for officers and enlisted military members of all ranks.

Mey made his mark by enhancing the state's controversial enlisted promotion process by developing program guidance for the Deserving Airman and Exceptional Performance programs. He also established a force management process using his chiefs' executive board to ensure actual manning authorizations were aligned with National Guard Bureau-funded authorizations. He also orchestrated the establishment of commanders' executive councils as venues to address enlisted concerns.

"I could not have asked for a better person on my team or a better person to fill this support role," said COANG Commander Brig. Gen. William E. Hudson. "I thank him for his honesty, I thank him for his friendship, but more importantly I thank him for arguing with me."

Known for his leadership by example, he also served on Colorado's CERFP (CBRNE - Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield Explosive - Enhanced Response Force Package) during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, bringing much needed senior enlisted mentorship and focus to the team, Hudson said.
For his part, Mey quietly thanked the Airmen he worked with throughout his career, and particularly those who assisted during his final years as COANG's top enlisted leader.
Mey served as the state command chief from January 2007 to November 2009.

As the new State Command Chief Master Sergeant, Kenderes pledged to lead the COANG into the future with the best interests of all COANG members in mind. She also charged all other enlisted Airmen to blaze the trail.

"Everyone plays a critical role in the success of the mission of the Colorado Air National Guard," said Kenderes. "When I started as the (140th) Wing CCM (command chief master sergeant), I pledged to take care of people, and to attend to the health of our enlisted members. Nothing will change in my new role, as I will continue focus on enlisted issues across the COANG and at the national level."

Kenderes relinquished the position of 140th Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant to Command Chief Master Sgt. John Criswell, formerly the 140th Security Forces Squadron manager.

As she paid her regards to the 140th Wing, Kenderes started a new COANG tradition by passing on her baton of wisdom and knowledge to the Wing's newest enlisted leader. The baton, which contained thoughts of herself and other senior enlisted leaders, was passed as a symbol of teamwork in which they would lead COANG's enlisted force into the future.

Kenderes addressed Criswell directly. "Always be mindful that the position is bigger than you are; and we are here to serve, and not be served. Chief Criswell, your life now belongs to our Airmen."

In her final act as COANG's CCM, she recited the Airman's Creed with the COANG's newest basic military training graduate, Airman 1st Class Nathaniel Gilmore, and presented her first state coin to him as a symbol of her promise to all COANG members. Earlier, she presented her last 140th Wing coin to her daughter Christina, in gratitude for the teen's sacrifices throughout Kenderes' challenging career.

The position of state command chief was formerly known as senior enlisted advisor. The title change, established in November 1998, was made to reflect the more diverse function of the state's senior enlisted Airman.