FRANKFORT, Ky. –
Chief Warrant Officer Charles Harris is retiring from the Kentucky National Guard after 39 years of military service and service as an intelligence officer and state security manager.
During his career, Harris earned many titles, from being promoted to a colonel, joining the warrant officer corps, and then doctor when he earned his Ph.D. in strategic intelligence.
Harris first began wearing the uniform in 1976, when he joined a military high school in Millersburg, Ky. After graduation, Harris was then sworn in to the military when he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1981.
After commissioning, Harris entered the Kentucky Army National Guard in 1984 as an intelligence as an order of battle officer focusing on Soviet Union intelligence, processing security clearances, and gathering fingerprints.
In the late 1990s, Harris was one of four to be chosen to pursue a masters in strategic intelligence and was selected for a fellowship in England for operational research on the British Territorial Army and how they use intelligence personnel.
In 2012, as the director of security management, Harris lead the Kentucky National Guard in being awarded second place in the Army-wide Operational Security (OPSEC) award, only being topped by the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.
In 2020, Harris was personally awarded the Lt. Col. Thomas Knowlten Award Medal by the Military Intelligence Corps Association. This award is only given to officer, warrant officer, or enlisted members who have significantly contributed to the military intelligence corps.
Harris recognized that his time in service would not have been successful all by himself.
“I came in because of the defense of the country,” said Harris. “But I stayed because of the people.
“All of my accomplishments, it’s not on me. I share them with my family, my friends. I’ve had a great support system the entire way.”
Throughout his 39 years of experience, Harris has seen many changes throughout the National Guard. Most notably, he reflects on how the National Guard has taken on a much bigger national role to supplement the active duty force.
“The National Guard has become a more professional institution,” said Harris. “We have modernized to the point where we have the same equipment and training that Regular Army has. That has made the National Guard a much better and reliable force.”
The Kentucky National Guard sends its congratulations to Chief Warrant Officer Harris and a thank you for the many contributions to the organization.
Harris will continue to serve his state by working with Kentucky Emergency Management in the near future.