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CHIEF MASTER SGT. Rick Winegardner Jr.

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CMSgt Richard L. Winegardner Jr. is the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for United States Forces Japan.  As the senior enlisted leader, he is responsible to the commander for matters relating to readiness, welfare, and effective utilization of over 33,000 enlisted members assigned to the joint services of United States Forces Japan.  Through engagement with the enlisted force he is the communications link between the commander and the enlisted community.  He ensures the commander’s policies are known and understood and advises the commander of important enlisted force issues and concerns. He also provides critical interface with the senior enlisted leadership of the Japan Self-Defense Force, serving to foster better understanding and improved readiness of our allied partners.

 

Chief Winegardner entered the Air Force in 1991.  He started his career as a Security Specialist and then transitioned to a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) member, where he served as the Airpower expert to the Army from the Team to the Corps level, including assignments with 5th Corps and 18th Airborne Corps, and the US Army Special Forces Command.  Chief Winegardner has served in a variety of positions to include: Wing Command Chief, J3 Senior Enlisted Leader, multiple Groups and Squadron Superintendent, Chief Joint Terminal Attack Controller-Instructor, Chief of Standardizations and Evaluations, and Weapons & Tactics Instructor. He has deployed numerous times in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM.

 

Prior to assuming his current position, he served as the US Africa Command J3 Senior Enlisted Leader, Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany.

 

EDUCATION

1997 Airman Leadership School, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas

1999 Antiterrorism Instructor Course, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

2004 Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Kapaun Air Station, Germany

2005 USMC, Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, Yuma, Arizona

2006 Associate degree in Information Systems Technology, Community College of the Air Force

2006 Associate degree in General Studies/Liberal Arts, Community College of the Air Force

2007 Associate degree in Criminal Justice, Community College of the Air Force

2009 US Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, Newport, Rhode Island

2010 Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education, National Defense University

2010 Management Certificate, Community College of the Air Force

2012 Joint Special Operation Forces Senior Enlisted Academy 

2015 AFSO 21

2017 Combined/Joint Special Operations Commander Course

2018 Keystone Leadership Course  

 

ASSIGNMENTS

1. April 1991 – July 1991, Student, Basic Military Training, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas

2. July 1991 – September 1991, Student, Security Forces Specialist, Lackland AFB, Texas

3. September 1991 – March 1992, Security Escort Member, 352nd Security Forces Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Missouri

4. March 1992 – June 1995, Security Force Member, 39th Security Forces Squadron, Incirlik AFB, Turkey

5. June 1995 – November 1997, Joint Terminal Attack Controller, Fort Hood, Texas

6. November 1997 – November 1998, Joint Terminal Attack Controller, Camp Casey Army Installation, Republic of Korea

7. November 1998 – March 2004, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, 22d Air Support Operations Flight, 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne); TACP/Noncommissioned Officer in Charge, John F. Kennedy Joint Special Warfare Center School, Air Force Element, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

8. March 2004 – June 2007, Corp TACP Superintendent, 4th Air Support Operations Group, Heidelberg Army Annex, Heidelberg Germany

9. June 2007 – February 2009, Operations Superintendent, 18th Air Support Operations Group, Pope AFB, North Carolina

10. February 2009 – December 2011, Operations Superintendent, 14th Air Support Operations Squadron, Pope AFB, North Carolina

11. December 2011 – January 2013, Superintendent, 14th Air Support Operations Squadron, Pope Army Air Field, North Carolina

12. January 2013 – April 2015, Chief Enlisted Manager, 18th Air Support Operations Group, Pope Army Air Field, North Carolina

13. April 2015 – August 2016, Group Superintendent, 4th Air Support Operations Group, Lucius D. Clay Kaserne, Germany

14. August 2016 – October 2017, Command Chief Master Sergeant, 352nd Special Operations Wing, RAF Mildenhall United Kingdom 

15. October 2017- December 2018, J3 Senior Enlisted Leader, United States Africa Command, Kelley Barracks, Germany

16. December 2018 – present, United States Forces Japan Senior Enlisted Leader, Yokota AFB, Japan

 

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit

Bronze Star Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Air Force Achievement Medal with five oak leaf clusters

Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Air Force Combat Action Medal

 

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS

1995 Commandant’s Award, Tactical Air Command and Control Specialist School

1995 Honor Graduate, Tactical Air Command and Control Specialist School

1997 Leadership Award, Airman Leadership School

2000 Superior Performer, Air Combat Command, Unit Compliance Inspection

2006 4th Air Support Operations Group, Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year

2008 18th Air Support Operations Group, Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year

 

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION

Chief Master Sergeant        1 July 2013