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Burgin retires from Kentucky Air Guard after 26-year career

Maj. Jerry Zollman (left), commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron, presents the certificate of retirement to Chief Master Sgt. Chris Burgin, superintendent of the 123rd Maintenance Group, during Burgin's retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., on July 14, 2018. Burgin was the first chief master sergeant selected to fill the newly created superintendent position for the 123rd Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Maj. Jerry Zollman (left), commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron, presents the certificate of retirement to Chief Master Sgt. Chris Burgin, superintendent of the 123rd Maintenance Group, during Burgin's retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., on July 14, 2018. Burgin was the first chief master sergeant selected to fill the newly created superintendent position for the 123rd Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Maj. Jerry Zollman (left), commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron, and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Burgin, superintendent of the 123rd Maintenance Group, stand as Burgin's retirement citation is read at a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., on July 14, 2018. Burgin was the first chief master sergeant selected to fill the newly created superintendent position for the 123rd Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Maj. Jerry Zollman (left), commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron, and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Burgin, superintendent of the 123rd Maintenance Group, stand as Burgin's retirement citation is read at a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard base in Louisville, Ky., on July 14, 2018. Burgin was the first chief master sergeant selected to fill the newly created superintendent position for the 123rd Maintenance Group. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Chief Master Sgt. Chris Burgin retired from military service during a ceremony here July 14, closing out a military career that spanned more than 26 years of service.

“As a chief in this organization, you have done an outstanding job of taking care of your Airmen and looking out for the entire group,” said Maj. Jerry Zollman, commander of the 123rd Maintenance Squadron, to the many family, friends and co-workers in attendance at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base.

“Commanders are only as good as the senior enlisted leaders that support them. You have supported us well and I think you are leaving this organization in better shape than when you found it.”

Burgin, who most recently served as the superintendent for the 123rd Maintenance Group, entered military service in April 1992 and was assigned to the 77th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, after graduating aircraft pneudraulic systems apprentice training.

In April of 1996, Chief Burgin joined the Georgia Air National Guard’s 116th Bomb Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. In October 2002, Chief Burgin was part of the 116th’s conversion to the E-8C Joint STARS, which created the first-ever blended wing, a mixture of both Air National Guard and active-duty personnel under one commander.

Chief Burgin transferred to the Kentucky Air National Guard in November 2004 where he served as an aircraft pneudraulic systems specialist and aircraft maintenance production superintendent as part of the 123d Maintenance Squadron.

In December of 2015, Burgin was promoted to chief master sergeant and gained the distinction of the being the first chief selected to fill the newly created superintendent position for the 123rd Maintenance Group.

“If I had to label Chief Burgin’s leadership style, I would say he is a servant-leader,” Zollman said. “He devoted a tremendous amount of his time to developing his young Airmen, mentoring new supervisors and advocating for the enlisted force."

Burgin concluded the ceremony by thanking 123rd Maintenance Group leadership for giving him opportunities to excel.

“I’d like to thank my leadership for giving me the opportunity as a traditional Guardsman to be the maintenance group’s superintendent,” he told the audience. “The Air Force put me on right path in life, sent me to college, and put me on the path of a career in aviation.

“The 123rd has an outstanding reputation worldwide, and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of it.”