New command chief warrant officer enhances tradition of leadership

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops

Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops assumed the role as Kentucky’s Command Chief Warrant Officer Jan. 31, 2014. Stoops has served for 35 years in the Kentucky National Guard, primarily as an aviation warrant officer. (Kentucky National Guard file photo)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — After 35 years in uniform for the Kentucky National Guard, Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops is at the top of his game. He assumed responsibility as Kentucky’s Command Chief Warrant Officer in January, but he said he’s not the Soldier he expected to be.

“I knew that I wanted to be a Soldier since I was a little kid,” said Stoops. “But I wanted to be a ranger out in the field, the tip of the spear kind of guy.”

“Timing and positions and duty assignments did not afford me those opportunities. I knew I wasn’t going to be a general, but there are so many other ways to be a leader.”

Stoops traces his military lineage back generations and credits his father, retired Army Lt. Col. Dick Stoops for getting him into the Guard. Stoops father was a battery executive officer with the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery in Bardstown, so he enlisted as a fire direction specialist, but would quickly learn that his path would be different than he had thought.

Even after so many years, Stoops still vividly remembers the last words his father said to him as he boarded the bus to basic training in 1978. His father said ‘be a leader and seek leadership positions.’ As a young private, the words helped guide him through leadership roles all through his training and into his career in the military.’

“It was the most profound piece of advice he could give me as father and as a Soldier,” he said. “I sought the leadership positions and leadership opportunities my whole career to improve myself and has certainly helped me along the way.”

CW5 Stoops

Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops pilots a UH-60 Blackhawk while deployed to the Middle East in 2005. Stoops deployed to the region where he served as the Theater Aviation Standardization Officer for U.S. Army Central Command. (Courtesy photo)

Shortly after coming to his father’s battery, Stoops saw an opportunity and steered his career into a different direction by attending Warrant Officer Candidate School and Rotary Wing Flight Training. His father was a private pilot, so it was an easy transition.Stoops would graduate as the honor graduate at flight school and spend the next 19 years flying helicopters for the Kentucky Guard. He became qualified in three of four aviation warrant officer career fields and held positions such Kentucky’s Standardization Instructor Pilot, Air Traffic and Aerospace Officer and State Aviation Safety Officer. On the civilian side, Stoops holds FAA certifications as a commercial helicopter pilot and private airplane pilot, and is certified as an aviation accident investigator.

The latter role brought Stoops into one of the toughest assignments of his career when he was chosen to assist in the shoot-down investigation of a CH-47 Chinook in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 30 U.S. Service members in 2011.

After a four-year stint as the Army National Guard Aviation Standardization Officer in Washington D.C., Stoops returned to Kentucky to take on what he called the pinnacle role in his career.

“This feels really good because I’m coming back to family, friends and an organization that I know,” he said. “I enjoyed the assignment at NGB, but this is also a position that I had set a goal of having in the zenith in my career.”

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U.S. Air Force Capt. Brian Stoops congratulates his father, Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops following a change of responsibility ceremony in Frankfort, Ky., Jan. 31, 2014. The Air Force officer is the fourth generation career Service member, following his father and grandfather, retired Army Lt. Col. Dick Stoops, also pictured. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The next generation of Stoops’ in the military said his father’s guidance has been of the utmost importance in his life. Stoops’ son, Capt. Brian Stoops is a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and said his father’s principles and advice have shown him the way through the “tough questions in life.”

“Dad’s military values of honor, hard work, integrity, service, duty, and excellence that he not only internalized, but passed on to me are what have influenced me the most both personally and professionally,” Brian said.¬†“His example, as a dedicated father and as a consummate professional, as both an aviator and an officer, continues to be a constant guiding light for me now as a young father, officer, and pilot.”

Stoops’ own friends and mentors, including Chief of the Joint Staff, Brig. Gen. Benjamin Adams believe Stoops is more than ready for the role. Adams called him one of the finest officers he has served with and the perfect fit for the job.

“He is the epitome of a professional¬†aviator, Soldier and officer,” Adams said. “He brings a vitality and energy that will
continue to grow the interest in and maintain our warrant officer strength.”

Stoops’ new hope is to impact future leaders and manage the warrant officers of the Kentucky Guard to the best of his ability, all the while paying tribute to a lasting legacy of inspiration and cementing his own chapter as a true mentor.

“I think my dad is proud, my son is proud, but the important part is not the pride they have in my accomplishment,” he said. “The important part to me is by ascending to the leadership positions that I have attained, I have influenced my son, my daughter, and any other warrant officer out there and inspired them to seek their own leadership opportunities.”

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