New Command Chief

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Charles Johnston
  • New Hampshire Air National Guard

Chief Master Sgt. John Symington assumed authority as the New Hampshire Air National Guard state command chief master sergeant from Chief Master Sgt. David Obertanec during a ceremony Sept. 15 at Pease ANG Base.

Symington had previously served as group superintendent of the 157th Mission Support Group since 2016. In his new position, Symington said he will focus on four distinct areas: recruiting, retention, readiness and most importantly, respect.

“None of these things can happen if we don’t treat each other with respect,” he said.

Symington acknowledged leaders who mentored him during his 38-year career.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have some great mentors,” Symington said. “They’d kick me in the butt when I needed it and made sure I was seeking opportunities to grow.”

NH Adjutant Gen. David Mikolaities awarded Obertanec the Legion of Merit for his performance.

“Our business is about people,” Mikolaities said. “I’ve never ever known this man to not care about people.”

Obertanec, who will continue service in the guard as a military personnel management officer, wished Symington well in his new position. “On behalf of my wife and myself, Godspeed.”

Symington takes over as the state’s 12th command chief.

“The NHANG is blessed to have so many outstanding airmen within our ranks,” Symington said. “I’m honored and humbled to represent them.”