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Selby retires after 39-year career in the Kentucky Air National Guard

Col. Jeffrey Wilkinson (left), commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, presents a Meritorious Service Medal to Chief Master Sgt. David Selby during Selby’s retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., May 19, 2018. Selby, the 123rd Mission Support Group superintendent, served for 39 years in the Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Vicky Spesard)

Col. Jeffrey Wilkinson (left), commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, presents a Meritorious Service Medal to Chief Master Sgt. David Selby during Selby’s retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., May 19, 2018. Selby, the 123rd Mission Support Group superintendent, served for 39 years in the Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Vicky Spesard)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. --
Chief Master Sgt. David Selby retired from military service during a ceremony held here May 19, concluding a career that spanned 39 years of service in the Kentucky Air National Guard.

“I have known him for a long time, and I'm a true fan of Chief Selby,” said Col. Jeffrey Wilkinson, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing, to the many family, friends and co-workers in attendance at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base.

“He truly stands out in front as the epitome of the Air Force core values. Chief engages people at every level, finds out what needs to be done, rolls up his sleeves and dives right in no matter what the work is.

“He emulates the finest professional qualities of the Air Force in our enlisted core,” Wilkinson added. “We at the 123rd Airlift Wing are finer Airmen thanks to his service. Chief Selby has shaped and bettered many lives across the wing and will be missed.”

Selby, who most recently served as the 123rd Mission Support Group superintendent, entered military service in May 1979 and was assigned to the 123rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing’s Security Police Flight, eventually becoming the assistant Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the armory.

Over the years, Selby has served in many different managerial roles throughout the Kentucky Air Guard, including positions in such units as the 123rd Combat Support Squadron, the 123rd Security Forces Squadron and the 123rd Combat Control Team armory.

In February 2001, Selby was instrumental in the transition of the 123rd Special Tactics Flight into the Air National Guard’s first Special Tactics Squadron, filling various management and leadership positions as the flight evolved into a fully operational squadron.

During his career, Selby was a key contributor to major exercises in Bulgaria and to Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He participated in humanitarian missions in Ecuador and was part of flood response operations for Hurricanes Floyd, Katrina and Rita and in his home state of Kentucky.

Selby served as the special projects officer for many base construction projects, remodels and improvements. He was also the vice chair and then chair of the 123rd Airlift Wing Chiefs’ Group and was the lead planner for the Soldier and Airmen of the Year committee.

The chief was appointed to the position of 123rd Airlift Wing human resource advisor, then to 123rd Mission Support Group chief in 2015. He served as the interim 123rd Airlift Wing Command Chief in 2017.

Fighting back tears, Selby thanked his wife, children and extended family for their support during his career but saved his final thanks for the members of his Kentucky Guard family.

“I would like to thank the leadership over the years for having faith in me and in my actions and having the courage to let me go out there and do it and lead the people in the way I thought was best,” he said. “Everyone here has impacted life in one way or another, and I couldn’t have done the last 39 years without all of you.”