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Burba concludes two decades of military service

Chief Master Sgt. Larry Burba, chief enlisted manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron and Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight, speaks to a crowd of family and friends during his retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 17, 2020. Burba served for more than 21 years in the Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Chief Master Sgt. Larry Burba, chief enlisted manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron and Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight, speaks to a crowd of family and friends during his retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 17, 2020. Burba served for more than 21 years in the Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Maj. Joshua Jaburg (left), commander of the 123rd Force Support Squadron, presents the Kentucky Colonel Certificate to Chief Master Sgt. Larry Burba, chief enlisted manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron and Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight, during Burba’s retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 17, 2020. Burba served for more than 21 years in the Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Maj. Joshua Jaburg (left), commander of the 123rd Force Support Squadron, presents the Kentucky Colonel Certificate to Chief Master Sgt. Larry Burba, chief enlisted manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron and Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight, during Burba’s retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 17, 2020. Burba served for more than 21 years in the Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Maj. Joshua Jaburg, commander of the 123rd Force Support Squadron, addresses the audience during a retirement ceremony for Chief Master Sgt. Larry Burba, chief enlisted manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron and Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 17, 2020. Burba served for more than 21 years in the Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

Maj. Joshua Jaburg, commander of the 123rd Force Support Squadron, addresses the audience during a retirement ceremony for Chief Master Sgt. Larry Burba, chief enlisted manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron and Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 17, 2020. Burba served for more than 21 years in the Kentucky Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Phil Speck)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Concluding a career that spanned more than 21 years of service in the Kentucky Air National Guard, Chief Master Sgt. Larry Burba retired from military service during a ceremony held in the fuel cell hanger at the Kentucky Air National Guard base here Oct. 17.

“Although I have interacted with him many times over his 21 years, I never saw him in action until I became the commander of the (Force Support Squadron) and worked with him up close,” said Maj. Joshua Jaburg, commander of the 123rd FSS and Burba’s final commanding officer.

“He is the special type of leader that allows a person to tap into the highest levels of self and achieve whatever that is.”

At the recommendation of his dad, a former Air Force senior master sergeant, who told him that the Kentucky Air National Guard would offer a great career environment, Burba enlisted here in 1990 in the aircraft maintenance field.

He most recently served as the chief enlisted manager for the 123rd Force Support Squadron and Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight. Throughout his career, he has served in many capacities, most notably in helping stand up the 123rd Contingency Response Group.

“We’ve worked around each other a lot, and it's fitting you’re here back home to get retired,” said Col. Ash Groves, who worked alongside Burba in the group’s formation. “Standing up the CRG was a big deal, and you are a big part of why it’s successful.”

Burba has deployed in support of numerous training exercises and contingencies, including Operations Coronet Oak, Joint Forge, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, Jump Start, Enduring Freedom and Unified Response. In 2012, he served as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge to the 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center, coordinating all arriving and departing aircraft for the 451st Expeditionary Operations Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

After thanking mentors, friends and family, Burba imparted some words of advice in his farewell speech.

“As soon as the call comes down from the top, you're going to go answer the call,” he said. “You're going to go wherever they ask you to go. It doesn't matter where it is. That's what we do.

“That's what we stand up and do, and I thank you for that,” Burba continued. “I tried to take advantage of every opportunity and serve in every war zone and do my part. I'm going to challenge you to do the same thing — do your part. And that's why we're here. Do it with a good heart, because that's what you set out to do, because you love this country.”