Fennell becomes newest Air Guard Command Chief

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

Sioux City, Iowa resident, Chief Master Sergeant Tom Fennell assumed responsibility as the 185th Air Refueling Wing’s newest Command Chief, during a ceremony held today, at the Sioux City, Iowa Air National Guard base.


Fennel has been a traditional guardsmen his entire career. He enlisted in the Iowa Air National Guard in 1988, where he worked in aircraft munitions when the unit was a fighter wing.


The Pierre, South Dakota native graduated from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa in 1993, and received his master’s degree in Public Administration from Iowa State University in 2010. He has worked full time as a Juvenile Court Liaison with the Sioux City Schools for the past 23 years.


Fennell works at East High in Sioux City where he also coaches track and cross county. He is also the catalyst in creating the Junior ROTC program in the Sioux City Schools, a program that has been in existence for just a few years.


As a member of the Air Guard, Fennel has served as the Assistant Retention Manager and as the Wing Human Resource Advisor, eventually becoming the Mission Support Group Superintendent. Fennell worked as an instructor and mentor for the Human Resource Advisor Orientation Course, at the National Guard Readiness Center in Maryland. He has also deployed in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.


Before assuming the position of Command Chief, Fennell was the Operations Chief in the 185th Human Resources office.


Fennell takes over for Chief Master Sgt. Phil Frank, who is retiring after 31 years of service.


As the senior enlisted person on the base, the Command Chief serves as a representative to the Wing Commander, advising the command staff on issues concerning the units 709 enlisted members.


“He has demonstrated the kind of effective leadership and professionalism that is necessary to develop our enlisted force into 21st century Airman,” said Col. Lawrence Christensen, commander of the 185thAir Refueling Wing.


During the ceremony Fennel complemented and challenged the enlisted members of the 185th to continue their commitment to service in the Air Guard, reminding those assembled of their contributions to the unit and to the country they serve.


“It is through your commitment, sacrifice, skill acquisition, and vital reenlistment that will determine the long-term greatness of our organization,” said Fennell. 


In the Command Chief Position Fennell says his main concern is to provide an atmosphere where enlisted members can work and grow as professional Airman, ensuring years of expertise and knowledge is successfully handed down to the next generation.


“We must find humility and motivation to mentor, develop, and create pathways for our successors,” said Fennell when addressing senior enlisted members of the refueling wing.

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