Operation Retirement: Chief Master Sergeant Roy A. Person

On December 30th, 2016, Chief Master Sergeant Roy A. Person held an informal retirement ceremony at the Butler-Harmon American Legion Post 80 in New Richmond, Wisconsin.

In attendance were Wisconsin State Senator Sheila Harsdorf, New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne, Post Commander Dennis Hurtis along with Chief Person’s family: his father John Person (Emerald, WI), sisters Michelle (Greg) Geist (Woodbury, MN), Mary (Tim) Wienke (Clear Lake, WI), Nicole (Ron) Leslie (Clear Lake, WI) and Jennifer (Jeff) Klinger (Glenwood City, WI).

All assisted in relieving him from active duty, “Operation Retirement”, after 30 plus years of faithful and honorable duty to his country and assuring the freedoms we so often take for granted.

Below is the speech that Person’s sister Mary Wienke delivered at the retirement ceremony.

“In his Inauguration Address on January 20, 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy made the following opening statement: 

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe – the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

“We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans – born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.” 

Kennedy finishes this address with: “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

“Our family has fought in the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Vietnam and Korea,” added Wienke.

We look then to the military career of Roy A. Person. Roy attended basic training through the Army National Guard during the summer of 1985, graduated from Clear Lake High School in 1986, he then enlisted full-time in the Air Force that same year. His time in the Air Force took him through the following wars: 1990; Al Kharj AB, Saudi Arabia; Desert Shield/Desert Storm, 1993; Incirlik AB, Turkey; Provide Comfort, 1999; Ghedi AB, Italy; Allied Force, 2001; Whiteman AFB, Missouri; Enduring Freedom, 2003; Whiteman AFB, Missouri; Iraqi Freedom and in 2007; Balad AB, Iraq; and Iraqi Freedom.

His participation in these wars show that we are a nation who needs and requires dedicated men and women willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of all. A few of these good men and women will have the honor, integrity and dedication to become a Chief such as Roy. 

Roy’s assignments and travel within the Air Force brought him to Korea, the Philippines, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, England, Holland, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, France, Qatar, Iraq and Ireland. An estimated 250,000 miles of air travel. 

Roy’s biography highlights the many awards and decorations he achieved, many of which he was able to accumulate additional devices (A device denotes additional awards of the same decoration or award). CMST Person received his last award (device) during his formal retirement ceremony at Ellsworth AFB on November 23, 2016. This award states as follows: 

Meritorious Service Medal 
Sixth Oak Leaf Cluster 
has been awarded to 
Chief Master Sergeant 
Roy Person
for Meritorious Service
10 July 2015 to 31 December 2016.

Chief Master Roy A. Person distinguished himself in the performance of outstanding service to the United States as Wing Weapons Manager, 28th Maintenance Group, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. During this period, Chief Person worked directly with the Air Force Personnel Center to correct manpower shortfalls. His immediate attention elevated 2w1 manpower levels from 79 to 88 percent and enabled the wing to support contingency taskings. Additionally, he prepared 40 personnel for expeditionary combat operations in support of operation inherent resolve, with deployed personnel setting new records generating 680 combat sorties and employing over five thousand precision guided munitions with a 99.6 percent weapons effectiveness rate. Finally, Chief Person guided 180 weapons personnel in four flights and three squadrons during the 2016 Air Force Global Strike Command Unit Effectiveness Inspection. His leadership and stringent self-inspection program were key to zero findings for the wing weapons community, and directly impacted the wing’s “outstanding” rating for executing the mission. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Chief Person culminate a long and distinguished career in the service of his country and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.