A day in the life of a command chief

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Clay Murray
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Command chiefs have one of the most visible jobs in the Air Force. Whether it's visiting with Airmen around the base, working with first sergeants or attending meetings he spends plenty of time getting to know personnel on base.

And he probably should. As one of only three command chiefs on base, he is in charge of more than 1,700 enlisted members and their families who fall under the Ogden Air Logistics Center and the 75th Air Base Wing. During his 24 years in the Air Force in signals intelligence, he has also been stationed all over the world.

"I've done a lot of weird things," said Chief Master Sgt. William Gurney, Ogden Air Logistics Center and 75th Air Base wing command chief. "Once I officiated a wedding for a soldier and a Korean woman. The guy lined up to be the overseeing priest backed out at the last minute so I stepped in."

Full of stories of interesting and odd experiences, Chief Gurney now spends his days doing things that are a little more common. His icebreaker on this particular day is a first sergeant meeting at the Club Hill First Sergeant's Lounge.

During the nearly two-hour meeting, Chief Gurney, and Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Czop, 388th Fighter Wing command chief, spoke to Hill Air Force Base's first sergeants about a wide variety of issues.

The discussion began with a mental health briefing and went through the Combined Federal Campaign status, base-wide profile standings and Thanksgiving ideas for Airmen and their families.

Immediately following the base first sergeant meeting, Chief Gurney gathered together all of the diamonds wearers (also known as first sergeants) on base who fell under Air Force Materiel Command to relay what he had recently learned at the major command's senior leader conference the week prior.

After meeting with the shirts, the chief briefly stopped by his office to check up on some email and his schedule for the day.

"I'm in the office as little as possible," said Chief Gurney. "Normally if I have things to take care of in the office I'll do it after duty hours."

With a small fraction of his email squared away, Chief Gurney set out for lunch. He visited the 75th Civil Engineer Group during their chili cheese fries cook-off for an opportunity to speak with Airmen, non-commissioned officers and officers.

After a quick lunch, Chief Gurney high tails it to meet face-to-face with Airmen to see how he can help them out. He does this unannounced so that it can be a more natural visit.

"We like to do pop-ins and surprise people," said Chief Gurney of himself and Col. Scott Chambers, 75th Air Base Wing commander. "I was an Airman and I know how it is when people get wrapped up in getting ready for visits."

Finally in an unsuspecting office of military members, he approaches his nearest victim.

"How are things," he asks an Airman in the flight medicine clinic. "Do you have any issues that I can help you out with?"

Most of the time he receives a long, blank stare.

"So are you telling me that Hill AFB is just that perfect?" he jokes to loosen up a somewhat unresponsive and quiet group.

Eventually he coaxes Airmen to be forward with him and explain suggestions and recommendations and ideas that they have for the base.

The end of Chief Gurney's day is comprised of email and paperwork. Day-to-day his attendance and activities vary, but his dedication to the Airmen under his wing and center remains the same--service before self, always. 

This article is the fourth in a series of articles based on the day in the life of...


Chief Gurney has been married to his wife Tracie for 23 years.  They have two daughters Kayleigh,12, and Kierstan, 8.

All of his assignments are his favorite, but in particular, his most favorite assignment was RAFF Edzell, Scotland.

His future aspirations are to continue serving in the United States Air Force.