Williams retires after more than three decades of service

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Vicky Spesard
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. Derek Williams retired with more than 32 years of honorable service to the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Kentucky Air National Guard during a ceremony held here July 16.

Williams, chief of Cyber Intelligence operations for the 223rd Intelligence Flight, served 18 years with the Kentucky Air National Guard and has participated in numerous missions, mobilizations and deployments. Throughout his career, he has served as a personnelist, an Aerial Port specialist and an intelligence analyst, among many other roles.

During the ceremony, Maj. Roxanne Westmoreland, commander of the 223rd Intelligence Flight, awarded the Meritorious Service Medal to Williams, who served as her senior enlisted advisor.

"To truly speak of the value of a chief master sergeant, not only to the commander but to the unit as a whole, they are the heart and soul," said Westmoreland, who has served with Williams for several years. "It is a privilege to be a commander, but we can't be who we need to be without a chief behind us."

After serving in the active-duty Air Force and Reserves, Williams joined the intelligence flight here and proceeded to recruit, train and equip personnel for one of the first cyber intelligence units in Air National Guard history.

He coordinated and oversaw the integration of flight personnel with the 35th Intelligence Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Upon integration, he monitored Cyber Threat Analysis Team mission requirements as they were executed at the Kentucky Air Guard.

To provide additional training opportunities for flight personnel, Williams obtained the first-ever Air National Guard training slots for the Joint Cyber Analysis Course at Corry Station, Florida. When military funding fell short, he volunteered his personal time and finances to travel to, coordinate and alleviate any potential problems associated with sending Air National Guard personnel to a Navy School.

Keeping with tradition, gifts were presented to Williams during the retirement ceremony, including a flag that was flown over the base on the day of his retirement and a special gift from the 123rd Airlift Wing Chief's Group -- a donation to the Chief's Scholarship Fund in Williams' name.

"Being the giving guy that he is, he always wants to give back to the community," explained Chief Master Sgt. David Selby, who represented the group. "When we asked Chief Williams what he would like as a gift, he asked that we give the donated money to the scholarship fund that we use to help our enlisted members and their families pay for school."

The retirement ceremony concluded by Williams expressing his thanks to family, friends and co-workers.

"Two words I would like to say today are 'grateful' and 'thankful,'" Williams said. "I am very grateful to have had the opportunity work with each and every one of you. I, by no means, got to where I am today in the Kentucky Air National Guard on my own. Every one of you in here at some point in time, has helped me. I have enjoyed every minute of it and had more opportunities here than I would have anywhere else in my life."