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131st Bomb Wing welcomes new command chief

Lambert IAP -- Members of the 131st Bomb Wing held a change-of-authority ceremony at Lambert Field Jan. 23 and at Whiteman Air Force Base Jan. 24 to welcome a new command chief, as well as honor the former.

After serving nearly four years as the wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Kessinger relinquished authority to Chief Master Sgt. Richard Pingleton.

Col. Robert Leeker, 131st BW commander, said goodbye to his former enlisted advisor while welcoming Chief Pingleton to the mission before him.

"You've done nothing short of outstanding as the wing command chief...and I salute you," said Colonel Leeker. "But our transition isn't over...we have to stay focused on the Airmen."

As the command chief, Chief Pingleton will assume the duties of being the senior enlisted member for the 131st BW. He will be the principle advisor to the wing commander on the enlisted force, as well as being a confidant and mentor to the Airmen.

"Thank you for your confidence and giving me this opportunity," said Chief Pingleton.

While serving as command chief, Chief Pingleton described three goals he has for the Airmen of the 131st BW. First, to embrace the wingman concept and apply it in everything you do. Second, be a good leader in your daily life, as well as your military career. And finally, be prepared for the moment to be called on for deployment and remain fit to fight.

"Chief Kessinger, it's been a privilege to serve with you," said Chief Pingleton. "You've made a difference in our lives."

Chief Kessinger passed on words of encouragement to Chief Pingleton to do his very best to take care of the Airmen before saying goodbye as the wing command chief.

"I can honestly say it's been an honor being your command chief," said Chief Kessinger. "I thank all of you...all of you."