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Chief retires and looks forward to rest of life with family

  • Published
  • By Airman Carissa Wolff
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
With 26 years of service to the U.S. Air Force and his country Chief Master Sgt. Al Irwin, 734th Air Mobility Squadron superintendent, thinks it's time to say good bye.

Chief Irwin's retirement ceremony was held May 15 at the Palm Tree Golf Course Conference Room with approximately 100 Team Andersen comrades in attendance.

"For starters I'm taking the summer off," Chief Irwin said. "I'm really looking forward to spending the rest of my life with my wife and watching my daughters grow up."

Chief Irwin managed approximately 200 personnel overseeing aircraft maintenance, air transportation and command and control of cargo movement.

"In the 734th, it's all about the cargo," Chief Irwin said. "I'm a maintainer by trade, so really overseeing the maintenance issues within the squadron was easy for me."

Chief Irwin joined the military in April of 1983, hoping to serve his country and get an education.

"After 26 years I think I've definitely served my country, but didn't get as much of the education piece that I had planned," Chief Irwin said. "I plan to use my Montgomery G.I. Bill and finish my bachelor's degree, probably in human resource management or business administration."

Chief Irwin shared defining moments that impacted his career and life.

"I came to the realization how important Christ was in my life and how it significantly impacted me at in all aspects of my life to include the Air Force," Chief Irwin said. "My faith showed me that I also had to have faith in others and to let go of trying to control every aspect of my job. It also helped me to be more empathetic and relate to my coworkers on a different level."

Sewing on chief master sergeant was another important milestone.

"I really had no idea how that would affect others around me," he said. "It actually made my job a lot easier when I needed to get things done in a hurry. For example, there isn't a lot my fellow chiefs and I can't get done together at Andersen AFB."

Chief Irwin wasn't planning on making a career of the Air Force, but decided at the end of his second enlistment he was going to retire from the Air Force. Through his experience, he has gained valuable insight Airmen can benefit from.

"My advice to Airmen is to always try to be the best at whatever you do," Chief Irwin said. "Know your job and take care of your subordinates and co-workers and you will be very successful."

While Chief Irwin was ready to go, Airmen will miss him.

"Losing the chief is going to be a great loss to the Air Force," said Master Sgt. Randy Farless, 734th AMS first sergeant. "After all, he is a proud maintainer with 26 years of experience and advice. I'm also going to miss him because we've worked well side-by-side for a year. Chief Irwin is one few of the people I bounced ideas off of as a first sergeant. I always knew I would get an honest answer from him, backed up by his reasoning and years of experience."