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NEWS | June 7, 2023

Richards retires, concluding 30 years of service

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

Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Richards, senior enlisted leader of the 123rd Medical Group, retired from military service during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base here May 20, concluding a career spanning more than 30 years.

Col. Hans Otto, commander of 123rd Medical Group, praised Richards’ character and selfless dedication to service before presenting him with a Meritorious Service Medal and Kentucky Distinguished Service Medal.

“We’re losing a highly capable and loved chief,” Otto told the audience of friends, family and colleagues, “but he’s getting a well-earned retirement. I cannot possibly thank you enough — but thank you, chief. Thank you for your three decades of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all you do.”

Richards began his military career with the Kentucky Air National Guard in July 1993 as a bioenvironmental engineering technician. He remained in this role until 2010, when he was named the section’s non-commissioned officer-in-charge. Five years later, Richards assumed the title of senior enlisted leader for the entire 123rd Medical Group.

Over the course of his career, Richards served in various assignments directly supporting Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, Hurricane Katrina relief, and Kentucky flood- and ice storm-response missions.

At the ceremony’s close, Richards reflected on his time with the group, sharing his thanks for those who supported him throughout his lengthy career.

“To be honest, I never envisioned I would join the Air Guard, much less make a career out of it and be standing here to celebrate 30 years of service,” Richards said. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve been beyond blessed to land in the 123rd Medical Group, to be a part of something so much bigger than myself, and be given the opportunity to work alongside and lead so many incredible people.”

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