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LeMaster's legacy: the retirement of the 178th Wing Command Chief

  • Published
  • By Airman Rachel Simones
  • 178th Wing
Twenty eight years ago, Command Chief Master Sgt. Ottis G. LeMaster made a life changing decision to join the Ohio Air National Guard. In addition to gaining an education, providing for his family, and seeing the world, LeMaster found his true purpose in life.

"The two greatest days in your life are your birthday and the day you discover your purpose," said LeMaster. "The Guard allowed me to find my purpose."

LeMaster's Air Force career began when he graduated from the Avionic Weapons Control System course at Lowry Air Force Base, Colo., in August 1988. He worked on Corsair A-7 aircraft and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.

Although he enjoyed his maintenance career, LeMaster realized his true passion in life was working with people when he switched to human resources.  

"I was much better at the people side of the business than the aircraft side," said LeMaster.

In January 2000, he became the first sergeant of the 178th Mission Support Group. As a native of the small town of Enon, Ohio, LeMaster was surprised to learn his passion for people could take him so far.

Throughout his career, he traveled to Serbia and Hungary to build partnership capacities between the United States, Serbian Armed Forces and the Hungarian Armed Forces. The Air National Guard provided him with opportunities to travel the world and bond with other military members.

LeMaster's career ranged from instructing the Serbian Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development program to advising the 178th wing commander on the welfare of the wing's nearly 900 enlisted Airmen.

His ability to help others abroad and at home earned him multiple achievements and
awards, including the Ohio ANG First Sergeant of the Year achievement and the ANG Region 7 Human Resource Advisor of the Year achievement.

"The moment that meant the most to me throughout my career was when the Airman NCO Council recognized me as the Chief of the Year in 2013," said LeMaster. "I hit my groove when I started working with people."

As LeMaster retired from a career filled with success and diverse experiences, he wanted Airmen to remember the importance of their military service.
"I want Airmen to know how valuable they really are," said LeMaster. "It's like a puzzle, and every piece matters."

LeMaster was a large piece of the 178th Wing puzzle, and his service was greatly appreciated by the Airmen under his leadership.

"His constant input helped guide me in the right direction and was a factor in solving many issues," said Col. Gregory Schnulo, the 178th Wing commander.

As he handed the position of the 178th Wing command chief over to Chief Master Sgt. Scott Mackenzie, he reflected on his career in the Guard.

"It was one of the best things that I ever did with my life," said LeMaster.