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Check Six – 1963: The First HIANG CMSgt

October 9, 2018

Hawaii Air National Guard photograph

The Department of Defense authorized the addition of the E-8 and E-9 grades with the changes taking effect on June 1, 1958. Promotions to these two new grades would be phased in over the next four years.

SMSgt Robert D.W. Choi became the first Chief Master Sergeant in the Hawaii Air National Guard on April 23, 1963.

The photograph above show Colonel James Ashford, the then-154th Fighter Group commander, presents chevrons to new CMSgt Robert D.W. Choi. The chevrons are in the old design – only two above, six below. The oversized chevrons on his uniform was part of these promotions for a few years.

Taken from the HANG 25 Booklet, the History of the Hawaii Air National Guard, November 4, 1946 to November 3, 1971. Special thanks to Steve Lum who scanned this photograph.

The big question is who was the first Sergeant Major in the Hawaii Army National Guard? Retiree News have talked to several HIARNG retirees but no one has a definitive answer. William Duncan and Sotero Bailado are names that have been mentioned. Can anyone help with this question?

The July 1958 issue of the National Guardsman covered the Army’s transition to the new E-8 and E-9 grades, and some grade titles. Read the article New Titles, New Confusion


From → History

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