Tinker’s new chiefs: 552nd ACW foursome selected for promotion

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Four Airmen with the 552nd Air Control Wing will soon become part of an elite group that makes up only 1 percent of the enlisted force when they pin on the rank of chief master sergeant, the Air Force's highest enlisted rank.

Senior Master Sgt. Michael Shupert,  with the 552nd Maintenance Squadron, and Senior Master Sgt. Roger Turnipseed, with the 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, will officially be promoted on Dec. 31, while Senior Master Sgt. Dwight McCormick with the 552nd Maintenance Group and Senior Master Sgt. Joey Thomas with the 552nd Training Squadron will be promoted sometime next year.

"Promotion to chief master sergeant is truly an honor," said Col. Jay Bickley, 552nd ACW commander. "These individuals have proven they can lead at the highest level while providing mentorship to both the enlisted and officer ranks."

The 552nd ACW's most senior enlisted member agreed.

"Achieving the rank of chief master sergeant is regarded as one of the highest accomplishments of an enlisted member's career," said Chief Master Sgt. Avery Woolridge, 552nd ACW command chief master sergeant. "By law, the percentage of Airmen obtaining that rank is very small. And selection is a reflection of a lifetime of commitment to service, of a commander's recognition of excellence and of a family's continued sacrifice and support."

Following their promotion, Chief Woolridge said the four 552nd ACW members "will take their rightful place in front of our Airmen and forevermore be called 'chief.'"

"I'd like to thank all my mentors, leaders, peers and subordinates over the years for guiding me in the right direction, who have supported my endeavors and who have kept me grounded with fresh leadership perspectives," Sergeant Turnipseed said. "Also, a special thanks to the love of my life, Theresa O'Hern, and most of all I thank God, for without Him none of this would be possible."

Sergeant McCormick also thanked his family, leadership past and present as well as his peers and subordinates.

"Without their support and guidance, this promotion would not have been possible," he said.

Sergeant Thomas is grateful to his wife and family for all the support and for all of the mentors and leaders that provided him with guidance, counseling and advice.

"It's awesome and humbling at the same time, and I am committed to the responsibility of mentoring, supporting and helping all Airmen," he said.

Sergeant Shupert said he is humbled to be entrusted with such a great responsibility and wanted to thank all of his mentors, supervisors and fellow Airmen he's had the privilege to work with "both here at home and on the road."

All four men will participate in a chief's induction ceremony scheduled for Feb. 21 at the Tinker Club, hosted by the Tinker Chiefs Group.