Only The Good Retire Youngs

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY -- On February 11, 2017, Hancock Field said goodbye to Command Chief Master Sergeant Russell J. Youngs during a retirement and change of authority ceremony held here. As part of the ceremony, Chief Youngs turned over his authority to Chief Master Sergeant Michael Will who became the fifth command chief of Hancock Field.

Youngs assumed the duties of Command Chief on September 10, 2011. He joined the U.S. Air Force in October of 1983 and after completing basic training, went on to Sheppard Air Force Base to attend Air Cargo Specialist school.

His first duty assignment was Dover Air Force Base, there he would specialize in the loading of various cargo aircraft. Three years later he would join the 174th Fighter Wing (FW). As a traditional guardsman, Youngs would spend the next year in the Traffic Management Office. He then applied for and was selected to fill a full-time position at the 174th FW Air to Ground Gunnery Range in Fort Drum, New York.

For the next 16 years, Youngs remained at the range and performed many different duties including, Main Tower Specialist, Range Scheduler, Heavy Equipment Operator, Additional Duty Safety NCO and Training NCO. In 2004, he returned to Hancock Field to fill the Senior Health Technician position with the Medical Group before being selected to be the 174th FW Command Chief.

Youngs said that being promoted to Chief Master Sergeant was the proudest moment of his career, but another moment in his career was a close second.

"When I was a 21-year-old Airman 1st Class at Dover Air Force Base, I was put in charge of a load crew on several occasions and had to supervise about seven other airmen my age or younger," Youngs said. "Being afforded that level of responsibility at such a young age was another proud moment for me."

The interaction with the members is something Youngs will miss most about the 174th Attack Wing.

"There are just so many wonderful, outstanding individuals," Youngs said. "I've been fortunate to meet a lot of people and I've noticed that no matter how young or old, if you're around someone long enough you'll learn something new each day. That's why I'm definitely going to miss the men and women here."

With over 33 years of military service, Youngs plans on relaxing and coming up with his next course of action.

The message he wanted to leave with the Airmen and future Airmen of Hancock Field is "take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. Take individual responsibility for your own career." Youngs said. "Get your training done as soon as you can and by all means, keep a positive attitude."