The State Command Chief

The State Command Chief

Garrett Jones, writer

My father Thomas Jones is a big role model in my life being the State Command Chief of the United States Air Force in Ohio. He led countless young airmen to success in their specified military careers. He was also a very huge role model to the newly recruits going to work at the 179th Airlift Wing. My father told me that there was this one kid who called him his dad because he was so close to him. I heard lots of stories about the young men he was a leader to over the years in his military career.

My family would go to special events or even just a work hangout at a restaurant with my dad’s work friends. He really did have so many friends always saying “ your dad is the best, we really do love being around him. I got to hear so many stories with both active and retired co-workers down at the 179th base. I practically grew up with all of them which makes me even more excited since I’m a senior and I get to finally be able to work and see a lot of airmen and women for hopefully a long career. It really was and still is awesome to see that my dad is still getting texts from old friends and even the young people now.

Growing up I went to a lot of events at the base like take your child to work day that’s where you would experience the “welcome home” type of thing because everyone knew who my dad was and his family. I grew up with some of his friends he worked with when he first started in the Air Force like Heidi Bishop and Ray Curadi, I see them during special events in downtown Mansfield like Final Friday concerts. Ray helps my dad set up our swimming pool every summer by loaning his small truck for sand. During the base events I remember making a lot of people laugh because I felt so comfortable being around all of them.

I knew my dad as being ranked chief for a long part of my life, that’s where I met a lot of the base members. I would ride with him all the time to join him because I knew he was going to the base even if it was five to ten minutes getting something from his office. He was later ranked Command Chief which is the highest rank at the 179th until you get redeployed to Columbus. He was so happy to get that rank I think I remember watching the ceremony but it was a while ago so I’m not sure. My favorite part is when he would give me rank coins you get a special coin and can share to special people you are close with. I still have them saved in my room hopefully add on the collection in the future.

He was promoted to State Command Chief of Ohio and moved his office to Columbus Ohio. a couple years ago me and my siblings were able to go and see where he’s been working for so long. I could see how special and how much of an impact he made even moving into the Columbus base. Columbus was the final base he would work in before an unexplained virus hit the United States very hard. I remember him coming home knowing he wont be able to see all his friends until retirement because of quarantine.

He later retired from his long fourty plus career in the military at the 179th Airlift Wing where he’s been ever since he joined. It was a sad but also happy day for me because I’ve always seen him in uniform coming home and going to the base at least once a year. Seeing his old friends talk about old times and all the younger airmen miss him for practically being their dad. It was awesome to hear about some of the stories he’s never really told me like stupid things he did with his friends. He reflected on his United States Marine Corps career and how he never imagined how his career would end up like. It was more sad because he couldn’t have a great big retirement ceremony because of COVID-19.

My plan ever since I was a little kid was to join the military having my dad be in the military my whole life. Seeing the older friends of his will probably be my first few friends when I go in because they watched me grow up every year we came into the base. I talked to a recruiter in February and it was a very surreal experience because I could see the joy in my dads eyes watching his oldest son continue the path he took. I very excited to see what God will do with me in my life I will never forget the amazing career of Command Chief Master Sergeant Thomas Allen Jones. Thank you for your service.