Voices of the VaANG: Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Amburn (Part 1/3)

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lucretia Cunningham

“My Air Force story is one of resiliency. What I mean by that is, becoming an American Airman saved my life! I wasn’t necessarily on a good path when I was a senior in high school. My mother worked in a cotton mill, and my dad worked in a plant making air compressors. All of my buddies were getting scholarships and going off to college — I didn’t have the grades, nor was I athletic enough to get a scholarship. To be honest, I really didn’t have any other way to go. I even got into some trouble with law enforcement after I was signed up in the Delayed Entry Program...I almost did not get to come in! I was kind of at a point where I told myself ‘if this doesn’t happen for me, I’m not sure where I’m going to end up.’ That’s just the crossroads I was at, so I thank God every day that 28 years ago things worked out and I was able to become an Airman.

Most people know I’ve been away from my family for about seven years. That’s seven years of my dash that I need to get back. A lot of people (when I talk to them) say ‘thanks for your sacrifice of being away from your family that long.’ But to be honest, it’s not really me, they really pay the sacrifice. I’m the dad who missed baseball games, cheerleading stuff, volleyball games, and all those things my family was doing while I was in the National Capital Region serving and then serving here at Langley. A lot of those family events, quite frankly, happen during the week so I was typically at work. When people thank me for my sacrifice and my time away from my family, I actually tell them we need to thank my family because they’re the ones who’ve had to really suck up the husband and dad duties and do the extra part — they deserve all that credit.

I’m looking forward to spending time with my mom and my dad, my wife and my kids. Really, I’m looking forward to just being with them and becoming reunited again. Family is so important, and the Guard is truly a family business. To be honest, doing the last seven years without them has been the toughest seven years of my life. Thank God I had this family, in the 192nd, to be there for me and to become my family. I’ve been in this job going on about three years, and the way they took me in when I got here and just brought me right into the fold to make me feel like family (became my family), helped offset some of the pain of being geographically separated from my family back in Carolina.

The ‘why’...the ‘why’ is just loving what you do, and what I do is just love on Airmen and take care of Airmen, and I love it. One hundred percent it’s what drives me, it’s what motivates me. This job right here as the 192nd Command Chief is the best in the world! There’s no better job than this right here. To go out and end my career from the Wing Command Chief position here at the 192nd: number one, there’s not a greater honor, and number two, there’s no other way I would’ve hand-scripted my career if I could’ve done so — I would still be doing this, right here. The greatest thing I’ve ever done was to join this Air Force — it sure has been good to me...”
— Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Amburn, 192nd Wing command chief