131st Bomb Wing Command Chief retires Published July 8, 2022 By Senior Airman Whitney Erhart 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- "At 15 years old I put on the Air Force uniform for the first time when I was in Junior ROTC and I'm taking it off at 51," said Chief Master Sgt. LeRoy E. McCardell Jr., Command Chief Master Sergeant of the 131st Bomb Wing. "It took a long time to reverse those numbers around, but we're here," he said at his retirement ceremony, June 25, 2022, as he began to sum up his 34 years of service to the United States Air Force. McCardell served in the active duty Air Force for 10 years, eventually transferring to the Reserve and then to the Guard. "The Guard was the best by far and the 131st was the best assignment I've had in my military career," he said. McCardell has served in a wide array of jobs throughout his career. He started in aircraft maintenance, later spending time in radio communications, electrical systems, and knowledge operations management. In all, he's had 13 different Air Force Specialty Codes, each one denoting a specific career field within the Air Force. "How do you sum up his 34 years of service to this great nation," said Brig. Gen. Kenneth S. Eaves, Assistant Adjutant General- Air, Missouri National Guard. "The only correct way to do that is to bring in all the leaders he has worked for and unfortunately, we can't do that." Eaves outlined the many aspects of McCardell's enlisted performance reports, touching on what many leaders have passed along to bring him to this moment in his career. "Not only did he excel as an Airman, just doing the job, he excelled as a leader, a mentor, and he impacted everyone he engaged with," said Eaves. "He has always strived to better himself and to raise the bar for those around him." McCardell thanked many of the people who helped him along the way, including his leadership, family and friends. He wrapped up his speech praising God and sharing the values that his parents ingrained in him. "I got this from my mom and dad and it's how I characterize my life. The only thing that matters is work hard, love big, and serve others," he said. "That's all that matters, the relationships."