Air Guard chief selected as NORTHCOM advisor

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An Air National Guard command chief master sergeant has been selected as a command senior enlisted advisor for a combatant command. It is the first time an Air Guardsman has been selected for that position.

Chief Master Sgt. W. Allen Usry, the current Continental U.S. NORAD Region-1st Air Force (AFNORTH) command chief, will take over as North American Aerospace Defense Command-U.S. Northern Command's command senior enlisted advisor in Colorado Springs, Colo., from Army Command Sergeant Major Daniel R. Wood, who is retiring.

While his core responsibilities as principal advisor to the commander on all enlisted matters will not change, the scope will, given the larger expanse of a combatant command, with its broad, continuing mission with assigned components.

NORAD is a bi-national command that oversees aerospace warning and aerospace control for Canada, Alaska and the continental United States while NORTHCOM oversees command and control of homeland defense issues and coordinates defense support of civil authorities upon request.

"It is a great day for the Air National Guard, 1st Air Force, NORAD-NORTHCOM, and most especially, Chief Master Sergeant Usry," said Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow, CONR-1st AF commander. "Not only does his selection set a precedent, it's extremely well deserved. His breadth of knowledge, professionalism and selfless commitment to service make him an invaluable asset. The enlisted force in Colorado Springs will reap the benefits of having Chief Usry looking out for their best interests."

As the senior enlisted advisor for Gen. Gene Renuart, the NORAD-NORTHCOM commander, Chief Usry will present the general with enlisted perspectives on a variety of issues ranging from strategic vision, goals and objectives to theater security and enlisted professional development.

He also will serve as mentor to other senior enlisted leaders throughout the command and will coordinate with headquarters staff agencies, commanders and senior enlisted personnel on matters pertaining to the command's mission, vision, core values and commander's intent.

Chief Usry began his career as a U.S. Marine in 1982, where he served as an embarkation specialist and platoon sergeant until he separated in 1988. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Oklahoma Air National Guard and was assigned as a fire protection specialist. In 1994, he became a first sergeant and was selected as the Oklahoma Air Guard's First Sergeant of the Year for three consecutive years, from 1998 through 2000.

From there, he's served in a variety of positions including instructor and course director at the U.S. Air Force First Sergeant Academy and as the Air National Guard first sergeant functional manager. He became the command chief for CONR-1AF (AFNORTH) in June 2005 and has called Tyndall home ever since.

Chief Usry said although he's looking forward to the new position, he's reluctant to bid farewell to his friends in Panama City.

"Bay County is an absolutely great community," he said. "Over the past four years, my wife I and I have made numerous friends and now feel that this is our home. This is an exciting opportunity for Melanie and me, but we are also looking forward to returning once my service is complete."