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NEWS | Sept. 10, 2022

123rd Airlift Wing welcomes new command chief

By Staff Sgt. Chloe Ochs, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 123rd Airlift Wing welcomed a new wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Steven D. Best, to the Kentucky Air National Guard base here May 3.

Best replaces Chief Master Sgt. Shane Lagrone, who retired after serving in the role for more than five years.

“I’m honored to step into the role of wing command chief because it’s an opportunity to represent the enlisted force as the tip of the spear,” Best said. “I can make sure our enlisted folks are getting the training, the care and all the proper necessities needed in order to be mission-capable.

“My priorities, of course, are in step with the commander’s,” Best continued. “But the biggest thing for me is to ensure that our Airmen feel comfortable in their training so that, when they go out the door, they’re confident and perform to their utmost ability. My message to the Airmen of the 123rd would be: If you don’t think you’re getting the proper care and training you need, please come see me. My door’s always open.”

Best enlisted into the 123rd Logistics Readiness Squadron in 1998 and spent the entirety of his military career as a traditional Guardsman there prior assuming his new role. In 2015, Best was named First Sergeant of the Year for the Kentucky Air National Guard.

“When I first entered the Air Force, it was my goal to reach first sergeant level,” Best explained. “That position essentially serves to provide a human resource advisor who helps take care of the enlisted force, and to protect the commander. That’s also what I do on the civilian side — I’m a human resource manager. So, working with people has always been in my wheelhouse. It’s where I’m most comfortable.”

Col. Bruce Bancroft, wing commander, praised Best for his commitment to the unit.

"Chief Best brings a wealth of experience to the wing,” he said. “From contingency operations overseas to domestic support within the Commonwealth, Chief Best has the background we need to lead at the senior levels and advance the mission of the Kentucky Air National Guard. He's laser-focused on our Airmen's welfare, and we are truly fortunate to have him on our team."

Best’s goal for the 123rd is the removal of barriers and "time-wasters" that prevent the proper care and training of Airmen. He intends to achieve that by working closely with senior enlisted leaders and commanders across the base during his term.

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