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Command Chief recalls successful career

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Only two percent of Air Force enlisted personnel achieve the rank of chief master sergeant. Fewer earn the privilege to hold the position of command chief. For one Andersen Airman, achieving both by the pinnacle of his career is second only to his opportunity to serve both his country and fellow Airmen.

Chief Master Sgt. Allen Mullinex, former 36th Wing command chief, retired from service Dec. 3 after an illustrious 25-year career.

As the principal advisor to the 36th Wing Commander on matters affecting the utilization, health, morale and welfare of more than 8,500 military and civilian personnel, the former Command Chief has affected the lives of many.

"When I first met him, day one, the first thing he said to me was, 'boss I need to talk to you about your Airmen,'" said Brig. Gen. John Doucette, 36th Wing commander, during Chief Mullinex's retirement ceremony. "There is nothing about him that screams me, it's never about him. Every waking moment, every conversation we've had has been about how we can make it better for the Airmen; how do we grow Airmen leaders and advance the Air Force?"

Chief Mullinex advised the commander for Airmen deployed to here for Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence and Theater Security Package. His responsibilities include keeping all commanders within the 36th Wing apprised of matters affecting their personnel and liaises between headquarters staff agencies, commanders, tenant units, and senior enlisted leaders on operational and administration matters and implementing policy.

The Grand Lake, Colo., native entered the Air Force Aug. 20, 1985 right out of high school. With his father working in construction and his mother holding various jobs, Chief Mullinex attributes his decision to join the Air Force to his upbringing.

"My family was hard working," Chief Mullinex said. "I think I got my work ethic from my parents because they worked very hard to support their family. Besides working with my dad, I was splitting and stacking wood in the eighth grade. Not to say I had a strong work ethic back then, you know as a kid you didn't necessarily want to work. But when you get older you learn to appreciate what work experience gives. The foundation it builds for you as a person."

"When I saw the Air Force, I saw something that was exciting," Chief Mullinex continued. "Growing up, I saw how hard my dad had to work to put food on the table. Not to say the Air Force doesn't work you hard, it's just I wanted to do something different."

Upon entering service, Chief Mullinex became an Aerospace Ground Equipment mechanic. Working on everything from hydraulics to electronics and diesel engines to air compressors, the chief said working in AGE helped mold him as a young Airman and set him up for success.

"Working in AGE really helped me out as an individual," Chief Mullinex said. "I gained knowledge on a very wide career field. But AGE also has a lot of people in it, so you have to figure out how to get along with people, how to interact with them, and how to lead. I was very blessed to have that opportunity."

Over the course of his quarter-of-a-century career, Chief Mullinex has been assigned to locations in North Dakota, Iceland, Utah, South Korea, California, Saudi Arabia, Alaska, New Mexico, Japan and Guam.

"I've been to more than nine different bases, but I couldn't say which is my favorite," Chief Mullinex said. "That's because it isn't necessarily about the base itself, but the people who make an assignment memorable."

It was those people he has met, followed and led that made the biggest impact on his career, the chief said. Whether good or bad, he has learned something from everyone he has met.

"Everyone you ever come into contact with can have an effect on you," Chief Mullinex said. "Even if you think they don't have good things to offer you. You just use that as a guide for what you don't want to be like when you are in a leadership position."

It wasn't just leadership that inspired the former Command Chief to excel. Sometimes it was seeing the Airmen he was leading that motivated him.

"Sometimes I would see Airmen do things that made me wonder if I could have done the same when I was their rank," Chief Mullinex said. "I have had the privilege to work with Airmen who have a sense of professionalism that goes unmatched. From the Airman in the medical group giving a crying baby their routine shots, to the Airman on the flightline working on a multi-million dollar aircraft, or the Airman behind the personnel desk making identification cards, these Airmen are making a difference. These are the Airmen who carry the bulk of the Air Force mission and I'm proud to say I serve them."

Chief Mullinex's dedication to service and to his Airmen stands as a testament to his leadership qualities. General Doucette noted the Chief's ability to inspire others to not settle with good enough; instead to strive for excellence.

"I just know the Air Force is losing a great warrior, but the civilian world is gaining an incredible man," General Doucette said.

With his retirement comes the opportunity to focus on self-improvement.

"The first thing I'm going to do is finish my last class for my master's degree in business," Chief Mullinex said. "Then I'm going to snorkel, learn how to dive, and then I will look for a job."

When asked what Airmen can do to be as successful in their career as he has with his, the Chief had this to say.

"I wouldn't say work to make a specific rank before you get out, because I originally planned to retire as an E-7," Chief Mullinex said. "Instead, smile and work hard with a pure heart and watch where you're career will take you."