Tampa Bay civic leaders become honorary chiefs
by 1st Lt. Erin Dorrance
Less than one percent of the Air Force enlisted force reaches the rank of chief master sergeant, the highest enlisted rank.
But four of MacDill's civic leaders tasted the achievement Tuesday when the MacDill Chief's Group gave them the oath to become MacDill honorary chief master sergeants during a ceremony at the Surf's Edge Enlisted Club.
Vince Naimoli, Bob Cutler, Charlie Brown and Ron Campbell took their honorary chief induction oath from Chief Master Sgt. Lloydette Joseph, MacDill Chief's Group president, at the base's first-ever Honorary Chief Master Sergeant Induction Ceremony.
"The MacDill Chief's Group wanted to start this tradition because Tampa has the best support from the local community that I, and several of the chiefs, have ever seen in all or our years of service," said Chief Joseph. "What they (honorary chiefs) do for uniformed members is a lot like what an Air Force chiefs do for his or her troops."
Chief Master Sgt. Lew Monroe, former 6th Air Mobility Wing command chief, was invited to the ceremony as a guest speaker.
"Mr. Naimoli, Mr. Cutler, Mr. Brown and Mr. Campbell have supported the base and its uniformed men and women with tremendous support before 9/11 and after," he said.
MacDill's honorary chiefs are:
Mr. Naimoli, managing general partner for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who has invited annual award winners and their guests to attend Devil Rays games in his personal sky box. He arranged Devil Rays players autograph tours to MacDill and turned over Tropicana Field Stadium to the MacDill military community in honor of the Air Force's birthday, which was shared before national televised audiences.
Mr. Cutler, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, who has spent more than three decades supporting the MacDill military community by serving on the Tony Jannus awards committee since 1974. He also co-chaired the establishment, rebuilding and refurbishing of the VIP lounge at MacDill's Passenger Terminal and helped build MacDill's Memorial Park.
Mr. Brown, owner of Brown's Trophies Inc., who has donated scores of hero medallions for annual enlisted award nominees for the past five years, and supplied the base Security Forces Squadron with pizza and bottled water during extended work schedules after the 9/11 attacks. He is a staunch supporter of the annual Tampa Chamber of Commerce Senior Enlisted Appreciation Reception and has consistently partnered with the MacDill military community in every annual air fest by providing T-shirts and plaques.
Mr. Campbell, president of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who has allocated one professional hockey game each year in honor of America's Air Force, which has resulted in immeasurable results in the Air Force's recruiting efforts. Additionally, he has donated a countless number of hockey tickets to the MacDill military community and he provided meals for the entire security force contingent during the two-day air fest, resulting in more than 600 meals per day.
"MacDill is truly lucky to have such phenomenal civic leaders," said Chief Monroe.
The ceremony served as a token of appreciation and thanks to four of MacDill's phenomenal civic leaders, who will always hold the rank of honorary chief.