By 2nd Lt. James W. Killen, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 11, 2015
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Steven P. Bullard, chief of staff for Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, was promoted to the rank of brigadier general during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base here Feb. 7.
Bullard's new rank insignia were pinned on by his wife and sons before an audience more than 200 family, friends, coworkers, senior leaders and members of the Kentucky General Assembly.
"Steve's career and dedication to our Guard force and the Commonwealth is truly the definition of our slogan, 'Unbridled Service,'" said Kentucky's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, who officiated the ceremony. "I believe we are very lucky, and I am very lucky, to have him on our team."
Calling him a "remarkable person," Tonini went on to recognize Bullard's many achievements, most of them accomplished while serving as a "traditional" drill-status Guardsman.
"When I met Steve, I was looking for someone I could depend on, who was a reliable person and who would just get the job done," Tonini said. "That was Steve."
Bullard, who also serves as deputy chief of the Joint Staff at Joint Forces Headquarters- Kentucky National Guard, first entered the Air Force in 1985. He worked as an aircraft instructor-navigator at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., for 4 ½ years before separating from the active duty in 1990.
Nine months later, he joined the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing as director of the Mission Planning Cell. He would go on to command Kentucky's 123rd Mission Support Group and the 123rd Medical Group before being selected as the wing's vice commander, a position Bullard held from December 2010 through September 2012. The general has served in his current capacity since November 2012.
In addition to his leadership posts in Kentucky, Bullard has held numerous high-profile assignments outside the Commonwealth. The general served as chief of operations for the Joint Intelligence and Operations Center at Headquarters, U.S. Central Command, from August 2008 through January 2009; and as the Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, Senior Airfield Authority for the NATO International Security Assistance Force and commander of the 451st Air Expeditionary Group from September 2006 through March 2007.
Bullard also deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, in August 2006 as the deputy director of the Air Component Coordination Element and the U.S. Air Force liaison with Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan and the Government of Afghanistan.
During his Air Force career, the C-130 Hercules master navigator has flown missions in 75 countries, participating in Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, Provide Promise, Restore Hope, Joint Endeavor, Joint Forge, Southern Watch, Bright Star, Coronet Oak, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
In his current role as chief of staff for Headquarters, Kentucky Air National Guard, he is responsible to the assistant adjutant general for Air and to the adjutant general for coordination of policy, guidance and the direction of more than 8,500 Kentucky Army and Air National Guardsmen.
Reflecting on his career and mentors during the ceremony, Bullard said, "Today we are blessed with more talented officers and enlisted leaders in the Kentucky Air National Guard than we have ever had before -- and to be one of you is a tremendous honor."
Bullard spoke of his affection for the Kentucky Air National Guard and his path within the organization, referencing a book written by Paul Tough called "How Children Succeed." He described the "grit" he believes all Kentuckians have -- and that makes the Kentucky Air National Guard successful in its many missions.
"Your commitment to each other and your passion for excellence is truly exceptional," he said. "You take care of each other no matter what you are doing, wherever you go, and you make your leaders look good. You are truly special, and we have proven this all over the world."