Eric W. Benken
|Eric W. Benken|
12th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (1996-1999)
August 20, 1951 |
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1970–1999|
|Rank||Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force|
|Unit||HQ USAF Pentagon|
|Awards||Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal(2)
Air Force Commendation Medal(3)
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with campaign star
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Eric W. Benken (born August 20, 1951) was the twelfth Chief Master Sergeant appointed to the highest noncommissioned officer (NCO) position in the United States Air Force.
Chief Benken was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and entered the Air Force in March 1970. His background was in information management. He served in operational, maintenance and support units at every level of command from squadron through Major Command (MAJCOM). Chief Benken served in Taiwan, Korea, and South Vietnam, and in a joint service (NATO) assignment at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). He served as Senior Enlisted Advisor to 12th Air Force and United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE). While at USAFE, the command was involved in operations such as Provide Promise, Provide Comfort, Deliberate Force, and Joint Endeavor in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Of interesting note, when Chief Benken entered the Air Force the Chief of Staff was General John D. Ryan. While serving as the CMSAF, he was the advisor to his son, General Michael E. Ryan. As CMSAF, Chief Benken's many initiatives included the development of the Command Chief Master Sergeant title (previously Senior Enlisted Advisor) and creation of a distinctive insignia; the implementation of Warrior Week at Basic Military Training; the successful fight against congressional efforts to interfere with gender integrated training at Basic Military Training; fought for repeal of the 1986 40% retirement and creation of the NCO Professional Development Seminar. During his tenure as CMSAF, the Air Force continued the Bosnian peacekeeping mission, Operations Northern and Southern Watch in Iraq, Operation Desert Fox (Iraq) and Operation Allied Force in Kosovo.
The Chief continues to travel at the invitation of the Air Force while employed at USAA in San Antonio, Tx.
CMSAF Benken served as the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force from November 1996 to July 1999.
- 1977 Tactical Air Command Noncommissioned Officer Leadership School, Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas
- 1986 Tactical Air Command Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
- 1989 USAF Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Gunter AFB, Ala.
- 1994 Associate degree in applied science, information management, Community College of the Air Force
- March 1970 - April 1970, basic trainee, basic military training, Lackland AFB, Texas
- May 1970 - December 1970, administrative specialist, 2578th Supply Squadron, Ellington AFB, Texas
- January 1971 - March 1972, administrative specialist, maintenance training section and maintenance quality control, 374th Tactical Airlift Wing, Ching Chuan Kang Air Base, Taiwan. Also assigned temporarily to Detachment 1, 834th Air Division, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam
- April 1972 - September 1978, chief clerk, 67th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron and noncommissioned officer in charge, Director of Operations Administration, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Bergstrom AFB, Texas
- October 1978 - October 1979, executive noncommissioned officer to the commander, 314th Air Division, Osan Air Base, Korea
- November 1979 - August 1983, NCOIC, Deputy Commander for Resources Administration and NCOIC, 12th Air Force Command Section, Bergstrom AFB, Texas
- September 1983 - December 1988, Chief, Administration Communications Division and NCOIC, Deputy Chief of Staff for Aircrew Training Devices Administration, USAF Tactical Air Warfare Center, Eglin AFB, Fla.
- January 1989 - July 1993, Superintendent, Manpower and Document Control Division, Office of the U. S. National Military Representative, and administrative officer, Assistant Chief of Staff Operations and Logistics Division, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Mons, Belgium
- August 1993 - September 1994, Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Commander, 12th Air Force, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
- October 1994 - October 1996, Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Commander, U. S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
- November 1996 - July 1999, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
Awards and decorations
|Information Management Badge|
|Air Force Distinguished Service Medal|
|Legion of Merit|
|Defense Meritorious Service Medal|
|Meritorious Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Air Force Commendation Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Joint Service Achievement Medal|
|Joint Meritorious Unit Award|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor device and silver oak leaf cluster|
|Air Force Organizational Excellence Award|
|Air Force Good Conduct Medal with silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters|
|National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star|
|Vietnam Service Medal with bronze service star|
|Air Force Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon with bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Air Force Overseas Long Tour Service Ribbon with bronze oak leaf cluster|
|Air Force Longevity Service Award with silver oak leaf cluster|
|NCO Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon with two bronze oak leaf clusters|
|Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon|
|Air Force Training Ribbon|
|Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Award|
|Vietnam Campaign Medal|
Effective dates of promotion
|Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force||November 5, 1996|
- Marquis Who's Who on the Web
This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "http://www.af.mil/information/bios/bio.asp?bioID=4664".
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