Dawson assumes responsibility as 123rd Airlift Wing command chief

Story by Maj. Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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Chief Master Sgt. Ray Dawson assumed responsibility as the 123rd Airlift Wing’s newest top enlisted advisor on Nov. 1, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. Dale Greer)

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVLLE, Ky. — Chief Master Sgt. Ray E. Dawson assumed responsibility as the 123rd Airlift Wing’s newest command chief master sergeant Nov. 1, replacing Chief Master Sgt. Curtis Carpenter, who is scheduled to retire in February.

Dawson joined the Kentucky Air National Guard as an air terminal operations center specialist in December 1993 after serving for more than eight years in the active-duty Air Force. He has been the wing’s full-time Air Terminal superintendent and technician supervisor since April 2010.

“I’m extremely pleased to welcome Chief Dawson to headquarters as the wing’s top enlisted Airman,” said Col. Warren Hurst, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing. “He brings a wealth of experience to the position, including a deep knowledge of numerous missions ranging from cargo handling and contingency response to audio-visual support and law enforcement.

“Equally important, he is committed to the professional development and personal well-being of every member of our enlisted corps, who are the heart and soul of this wing.”

Dawson enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1985 and served as an audio-visual specialist from 1985 to 1991. He then cross-trained into law enforcement, serving as a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations until 1993.

Later that year, he joined the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Aerial Port Squadron, ultimately rising to the post of air terminal superintendent. In March 2008, Dawson was named chief enlisted manager of Kentucky’s 123rd Contingency Response Group, a post he held for two years before moving back to air terminal operations as a full-time technician.

He has deployed in support of numerous training exercises and contingencies, including Operations Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. In 2012, Dawson served as the chief enlisted manager of the 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, providing counsel to the commander on issues affecting the morale and well-being of more than 230 enlisted personnel.

As a Citizen-Airman, Dawson has served his community as an elected city councilman in Scottsburg, Ind., from January 2004 to December 2008. He has also served as a city police sergeant and Indiana State Police trooper prior to joining the full-time military technician force here in April 2010.

As Dawson begins the next step in his career, he’s looking forward to challenge and opportunity offered by serving at headquarters.

“I am truly humbled and honored by the outpouring of support shown by my enlisted brethren as I assume the position of wing command chief,” he said. “With that support comes great trust and responsibility, which I do not take lightly.  ‘Recruit me, train me, equip me and take care of my family’ is what I hear loud and clear from these fine Airmen It’s my honor and privilege to serve them as we make the Kentucky Air National Guard an even stronger force here at home, while serving the citizens of the Commonwealth in times of need or in foreign lands fighting the enemies of this great nation.”

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