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Fuller retires after 36 years of service to Kentucky Air Guard and U.S. Air Force

Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Fuller (right), the outgoing superintendent of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Operations Group, is awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by Col. Robert Hamm, commander of the Operations Group, during Fuller’s retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., June 8, 2014.  Fuller retired after 36 years of service. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Joshua Horton)

Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Fuller (right), the outgoing superintendent of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Operations Group, is awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by Col. Robert Hamm, commander of the Operations Group, during Fuller’s retirement ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., June 8, 2014. Fuller retired after 36 years of service. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Joshua Horton)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- After more than 36 years of service to the Kentucky Air National Guard and United States Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Fuller was officially retired in a ceremony here June 8.

Fuller, the outgoing 123rd Operations Group superintendent, was presented with three Meritorious Service Medals and the Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal, recognizing his long history of excellence as a chief flight engineer who participated in scores of missions to 85 countries aboard five different aircraft systems while serving as the senior enlisted aircrew member to more than 180 operations personnel.

In addition to his formal awards, Fuller was honored for his dedication to duty, leadership and mentorship, and also for his unorthodox personality, which endeared him to many in the Operations Group, according to Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Dawson, the current 123rd Operations Group superintendent.

"I'm sure that if I had to take a survey of the people gathered here today, I could almost guarantee that at one time or another most of you have had mental thoughts or verbal thoughts that resembled these: 'He's a handful,' 'What the heck is Fuller up to?' 'That dang Fuller is a pain in the...'. You get the idea."

At times the retirement ceremony appeared to take on the atmosphere of a comedic roast, but one theme stood out: Fuller's impact on the group and the Kentucky Air National Guard was lasting.

"Chief Fuller, I am grateful for the things you did well and the things you could have done better, because I learned from both," Dawson said. "Whether you or anyone else realizes, it has helped me and many others to become a more integral part of the awesome organization that you are retiring from today."

Fuller's career with the Air Force began in 1978, and he joined the Kentucky Air National Guard as a jet engine mechanic in 1979, deploying in support of operations ranging from Just Cause and Desert Storm/Desert Shield to Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom during his more than three decades of service.

Quoting Robert E. Lee, Col. Robert Hamm, 123rd Operations Group commander, said, "Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more; you should never wish to do less. (Fuller) most assuredly did his duty for 37 years. Today is a day to focus on and honor those 37 years of service and duty."