|Chief Master Sergeant Michael T. Hewson accepts the position of
Command Chief Master Sergeant of the 106th Rescue Wing December
3, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard / Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy)
Members of the 106th Rescue Wing will enter the New Year with a new command chief at the helm, as Chief Master Sergeant Michael Hewson was welcomed to the position in a ceremony, here, led by wing commander, Colonel Michael Bank, 106th Rescue Wing, during the December unit training assembly.
As command chief for the 106th RQW, Hewson is the ranking enlisted member on the base. He leaves his position as 106th Rescue Wing Operations Group Superintendent in order to serve as command chief. Hewson’s new duties entail being the personal advisor to the base commander on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, proper utilization, and progress of the enlisted force and their families.
Hewson began his military career 30 years ago in avionics as a communication and navigation specialist. He became a pararescue specialist with the 106th in 1990, and a police officer for Suffolk County Police Department in 1994. His work with SCPD expanded in 2000 to Emergency Services there, employing his multi-faceted military training and expertise in rescue, weapons of mass destruction, tactical operations, bomb disposal, and hazardous material response capabilities.
“I cannot think of a better example to guide, mentor, and lead the 106th enlisted force,” said Bank during the induction ceremony. “(He) serves a nation, a state, and a community,” he continued. “The very definition of the National Guard Citizen-Soldier… His wealth of experience, will serve this wing and its airmen well today, and into the future.”
Hewson says his military and civilian jobs both involve high-risk tasks, yet he has never worked a day in his life because both jobs are like fraternities to him, providing camaraderie and opportunities to do what he loves. He believes the breadth of his knowledge will guide him as command chief.
“Nothing we do is ever done by one person, it’s always done with a team concept,” Hewson said of his work. “You have to rely on everybody to do their parts, to be a follower, to be a leader, to participate.” In the end, one person will make a decision based on all input, Hewson said, highlighting the importance of wing members to look for ways to be more involved and have impact.
Just as he stepped out of the comfort zone of his superintendent role to become command chief, Hewson challenges airmen to avoid being pigeonholed in their Air Force Specialty code tasks. He is adamant that members should seek out opportunities on base for leadership roles.
“As the enlisted core, we have a lot of responsibilities to participate in things such as the Top 3 Council and Enlisted Council,” Hewson said. “I wish early on in my career people would have mentored me, pushed me, steered me.”
“If I have to push people to get them where I need them to go, I will push,” he said. “Get involved…If you see me in the (dining facility), sit down with me and let’s have a conversation.”