Virginia State Command Chief retires after more than 40 years of service

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Bryan Myhr
  • 192nd Wing Public Affairs
The senior enlisted leader of the Virginia Air National Guard retires Oct. 14, 2018, in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

Bringing to a close an Air National Guard career of more than 41 years, Virginia State Command Chief Master Sergeant Jay N. Ellis was retired in ceremony at the Virginia National Guard Joint Force Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond.

As State Command Chief, Ellis served as advisor to the Adjutant General of Virginia and the Air Component Commander on quality-of-life issues and concerns of the enlisted corps.

“I want to thank everyone that influenced me during my career rather it was good or bad because I learned something either way,” said Ellis. “I will miss the people that I have meet throughout the years. I do plan to stay involved with the enlisted and officer associations so hopefully we will cross paths now and then.”

Ellis grew up in Richmond and entered the Air Force in October 1976. Upon graduating technical school at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, as an avionics inertial navigation system specialist, he was assigned to the 192nd Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Byrd Field, Virginia. His career included positions in avionics, communications, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and logistics support. In November 2013, Ellis became the 192nd Fighter Wing Command Chief and became the VaANG’s 14th State Command Chief in September 2014.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Marshall L. Kjelvik, Virginia Air Component Commander, presented Ellis with the Virginia Distinguished Service Medal. Among other accomplishments, the award recognized Ellis’ role in the development, implementation and utilization of the enlisted promotion tool for Virginia which was vital to force structure and career development for Virginia Airmen.

“He’s a founding father of the 192nd Intel Squadron,” said Kjelvik. “I think you were a part of shaping what we are going to be for the next several decades.”

Ellis noted the end of the F-105 Thunderchief era, as the last two serving VaANG members to work on them are now retired, himself and Chief Master Sgt. Raymond Dawson, 192nd Maintenance Group superintendent, who was in attendance.

Ellis is succeeded by the 15th Virginia State Command Chief, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kelly B. Reich, a longtime VaANG Airman who previously served as the 192nd Operations Group superintendent.

Many distinguished guests and family attended the ceremony, including the Adjutant General of Virginia, Army Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, Ellis’ wife and family to include his grandson who plans to join the Virginia Army National Guard.