Chief Malone retires after 35 years of service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Madison Beichler
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. David E. Malone, senior enlisted leader of the 123rd Maintenance Group, retired from military service during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base here Feb. 4, ending a career spanning 35 years.

Lt. Col. Jerry Zollman, 123rd MXG commander, spoke highly of Malone’s character during the ceremony, which was held in the base Fuel Cell Hangar.

“If you know Chief Malone, you know his number-one priority has been always taking care of his Airmen,” Zollman said. “He set a great example of what subservient leadership looks like. Your counsel and guidance to me has been invaluable. You have supported me well, the group well, and you are leaving this organization better than when you found it.”

Malone began his military career in 1987 by enlisting in the active-duty Air Force as an avionics specialist. In 1991, he transferred to the Air Force Reserve’s 916th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

Malone joined the Kentucky Air National Guard in May 2000. During his time at the 123rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, he worked in the communication and navigation shops, the Maintenance Operations Center, and the quality assurance section before being named senior enlisted leader for the group.

Over the course of his career, Malone served in various assignments in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom.

At the ceremony’s close, Malone reflected on his time with the unit.

“There are some things that I carried on in my career and, hopefully, you can carry the torch well,” he told friends and colleagues in the audience. “The first one is to volunteer more. Volunteer for anything and everything you can. There never is going to be a perfect time for a (temporary duty), but I encourage you to get out there. Step out of your comfort zone. Second thing: Find a mentor or be a better mentor. Lastly, prepare to accept change. Change is inevitable. Never blindly accept change, ask questions, and be inquisitive.”