Chief Airey Dies

We learned late Wednesday that Paul W. Airey, the first Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, died Wednesday morning in Panama City, Fla. Airey served as a B-24 aerial gunner during World War II but spent much of his 27-year career as a first sergeant in various units. He was installed as USAF’s top enlisted man in the newly created CMSAF position on April 3, 1967. He retired in August 1970. In 2007, the Air Force Association awarded then 85-year-old Airey its Lifetime Achievement Award. Among the many services he provided AFA and the Air Force, Airey served on the Air Force Memorial Foundation’s site and design committee and inscription committee. This Airey quote appears on the Air Force Memorial’s North Inscription Wall: “When I think of the enlisted force, I see Dedication, Determination, Loyalty, and Valor.” (For more on Airey, read Air Force Magazine’s 1997 article “Chief Airey“)