Chief Master Sgt. Kristy Long: 20 years of Air Force service

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeremy Roman
  • 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The culmination of a distinguished 20 year Air Force career was commemorated for Chief Master Sgt. Kristy Long, 44th Fighter Group senior enlisted leader, during her retirement ceremony, April 1.

Col. Kay Beigh, Individual Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, 96th Test Wing, Air Force Material Command, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., was the presiding official.

Throughout her career, Long has experienced a variety of roles and commands which have taken her many places and allowed her to impact many lives. She began her military career with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard’s 258th Air Traffic Control Squadron in September 2001. She served in various roles early on but her career would significantly pivot her when she became a first sergeant in 2015.   

“Becoming a first sergeant really helped me learn about people. It gave me the opportunity to work with multiple leaders in various cultures,” Long said. “I learned the importance of building relationships inside and outside the squadron. I also learned you don’t always need to talk when you are in a leadership position but you do need to listen…to be there when times are hard and tough.”

Long would apply what she had learned with the 919th Special Operations Wing, Duke Field, Fla., when she transitioned into the Air Force Reserve in 2016 as a first sergeant. She also served as an IMA with the 492d SOW, co-located at Hurlburt Field and Duke Field, Fla., and Robins AFB, Ga., in 2018 and would later promote to the rank of chief master sergeant, Feb. 1, 2019.

Early in her career, she was selected to serve in an E-9 billet as a master sergeant [E-7] and could have eventually reached the rank of E-9 if she stayed where she was but she felt there was more she needed to do. She credits serving as a first sergeant in helping her become a better leader.

“[At that time] I told myself…If I’m going to be a chief, I want to really be a good chief which is why I transitioned over to become a first sergeant,” she said. “I had the great opportunity to work with some great leaders. Leadership sets the culture. Leaders should always be building future leaders. Yet working at the strategic level, I missed taking care of the Airmen and I’m grateful for the opportunity that allowed me to come to the 44th to do that here.”

Long’s final transfer was to the 44 FG and her impact was felt.

“Thank you Chief Long for being a great leadership partner and thank you for leading our Airmen through the most uncertain times within our organization’s history,” said Col. Curtis Pitts, 44 FG commander. “Congratulations on your retirement. You should be very proud.”

The Airmen of the 44 FG impacted her too.

“This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career was to be here with [the 44 FG]. I learned the value of connections and vulnerability while we encountered numerous challenges. We never let the unknown stop us from being a family,” said Long. “My personal joy was watching your successes. Your team will make you successful as a leader and that’s exactly how I feel about this team. My success was when you succeeded and I thank you all for your hard work and dedication to the mission.”

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