CMSgt Kenneth Casey

CMSgt Kenneth Casey

USAFE Command Chief Master Sgt

Oct '96 - Feb '00

When Chief Casey moved to Ramstein Air Base, Germany in October of 1996 to become the USAFE Senior Enlisted Advisor, his priorities were to:

1) Improve the quality of life for all USAFE Airmen and families
2) Improve the Kisling NCO Academy facilities
3) Establish a Combat Warrior culture
4) Document enlisted heritage

Improving Quality of Life

Much of Chief Casey's efforts to improve quality of life for USAFE Airmen and their families began prior to his appointment as USAFE Command Chief. In January 1995, Chief Casey served as 16th Air Force's Senior Enlisted Advisor at Aviano AB, Italy during "Operation DELIBERATE FORCE" - the sustained NATO air campaign over Bosnia where he focused efforts to improve QOL for Airmen serving at Eagle Base in Tuzla, Bosnia and along the Zone of Separation.

Chief Casey was also a member of the first USAFE dormitory council that promoted massive upgrades of USAFE dorms from outdated "gang latrine style" facilities to the newer "one plus one" standard.

He was also heavily involved in Project Aviano 2000, the largest DoD construction project on record that year. This massive project erected new schools, base housing, commissary, BX, fitness centers, clubs and billeting in preparation for the newly inherited F-16 mission - coming from Bitburg AB, Germany - and its 3000 support personnel and their family members.

Kisling Academy Upgrade

Through Chief Casey's efforts, along with tremendous support and funding from USAFE Commanders General Michael Ryan and General John Jumper, the USAFE Kisling NCO Academy became the very best NCO Academy in the Air Force through the renovation of two dormitories, a new fitness room, a resource library and a total upgrade of classrooms and computer systems. Providing oversight for the construction was Kisling NCO Academy Commandants, CMSgt's Vickie Mauldin and Audrey Thompson.

Creating a Warrior Culture

During Chief Casey's tenure, USAFE was experiencing a tremendous operations tempo with conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. In addition to this, USAFE First Sergeants shouldered the burden of filling all the First Sergeant deployment billets to forward operating sites in Hungary, Italy, France, Spain and Bosnia where challenges such as substandard billeting, food, MWR support, weapons accountability, land mines and poor weather were commonplace.

To help with this issue, Chief Casey and USAFE hosted the first Combat First Sergeant Conference at Camp Darby, Italy. The one week conference acquainted 117 USAFE First Sergeants and Senior Enlisted Advisors with tent city living conditions, drill and ceremony that included reveille and retreat, daily one-mile unit runs and classes that dealt with deployment issues. the conference concluded with a full parade with a pass and review in front of USAFE Commander General John Jumper as the guest of honor.

Promoting Enlisted Heritage

Enlisted Heritage was the third priority of Chief Casey. During his tenure two dormitories were dedicated to Air Force heroes. At RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, a dormitory dubbed "Airey Hall", in honor of the 1st CMSAF, Paul W. Airey, was dedicated to the base's enlisted men and women. CMSAF Airey attended the dedication.

At Aviano AB, Italy a dormitory was dedicated to CMSgt William Starnes who was promoted to CMSgt on the very first CMSgt promotion list and was a strong supporter of the USAFE enlisted corps for many years as he represented the Air Force Sergeants Association and traveled throughout USAFE urging the command's Airmen to support AFSA as a way to improve quality of life throughout the Air Force. During Chief Casey's tenure there were several Senior NCO and Chief suites dedicated to past enlisted heroes. Chief Casey also established the first wall of former USAFE Senior Enlisted Advisors in the Kisling NCO Academy with sketches of all the former USAFE advisors.

A little known fact of Enlisted Heritage

In 1998, Chiefs Casey and Mark Mazza, Air Force Materiel Command Senior Enlisted Advisor, realized the need for a new name and special rank insignia for Senior Enlisted Advisors - similar to those of other service's highest ranking enlisted representatives. Chiefs Casey and Mazza proposed a new name (Command Chief Master Sergeant), three insignia designs along with justification were sent to then CMSAF Eric Benken for his advancement to the Chief of Staff for final approval at CORONA. The new rank insignia with one star in the middle and the new name, Command Chief Master Sergeant, were approved unanimously by the four star generals and CSAF. The new concept was also hailed by the joint community as troops from other services could easily identify the Command Chief through the new insignia. The effort leveled the playing field with the other services that already possessed identifying insignia.

In January 1999, during the USAFE Chief's Orientation in front of the USAFE Headquarters building with the USAFE Band and a pass and review, General Jumper and Mrs. Carmen Casey with son, Sam, pinned on the new rank insignia making Chief Casey the very first USAFE Command Chief.

Chief Casey officially retired 1 July 2000 after spending 21 years of his almost 28 year career in USAFE where he displayed tremendous concern for the health and welfare of Airmen and their families as a supervisor, First Sergeant and Command Chief.

Chief Casey is a life member of the Air Force Sergeants Association, Air Force Association and Noncommissioned Officers Association.