May 21, 2009 —
In an unprecedented move, today Chief Master Sgt. W. Allen Usry assumed responsibility as North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command’s command senior enlisted advisor here during a change of responsibility ceremony from Army Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel R. Wood, who is retiring.
Usry is the first-ever Air National Guard command chief master sergeant to be a command senior enlisted advisor for a combatant command, and though his core responsibilities as principal advisor to the commander on all enlisted matters will not change from his former position as Continental U.S. NORAD Region-1st Air Force (AFNORTH) command chief, the scope will. And given the larger responsibilities of a combatant command, with its broad, continuing mission and assigned components, Usry takes a larger leadership role he steps into Air Force history.
According to Gen. Gene Renuart, NORAD and U.S. Northern Command commander, this decision wasn’t difficult.
“(Sgt. Maj. Wood) is a soldier’s soldier and there’s no bigger compliment than that,” said Renuart. “He embodies the ideals of what a (command senior enlisted leader) is.
“Chief Master Sgt. Usry’s list of accomplishments is equally as impressive,” Renuart continued. “(Usry) is no stranger to the command, and choosing you as the CSEL was an easy choice.”
The moment wasn’t lost on Usry as he gave his thanks for the position and the mission.
“I’m truly honored to stand before you as the NORAD and U.S. Northern Command command senior enlisted leader,” said Usry. “And I’m equally honored to pay tribute to a couple of true heroes, Command Sergeant Major Dan Wood and his wife Kelly as they wrap up over 28 years of service to the United States and her allies”
“But I am most proud to have the opportunity to serve the Enlisted men and women of this command; American and Canadian, both at this headquarters and across our vast area of responsibility”.
According to Usry, his past experiences make him excited and make the mission of the commands more personal.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to serve in NORAD and U.S. Northern Command,” said Usry. “As a former firefighter and EMT with the Tulsa Fire Department and Air National Guard Firefighter who perfomed search and rescue at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, having the opportunity to serve in this position has added meaning for me”.
In addition to advising Renuart on a variety of enlisted issues and perspectives – from strategic vision, goals and objectives to enlisted professional development – he will also serve as mentor to other senior enlisted leaders throughout the commands and will also coordinate with headquarters staff agencies, commanders and senior enlisted personnel on matters pertaining to the command’s mission, vision and commander’s intent.
The chief enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1982, serving as an embarkation specialist and platoon sergeant before leaving the Marines in July 1988. He enlisted in the Oklahoma Air National Guard in August 1988 where he served as a fire protection specialist until 1994. It was then that Usry became a first sergeant in the Oklahoma ANG and was selected Oklahoma ANG’s First Sergeant of the Year for three consecutive years, from 1998 through 2000.
Since that time he has served in a variety of positions including serving as an instructor and course director at the U.S. Air Force First Sergeant Academy.
NORAD is a bi-national command that oversees aerospace warning and aerospace control for Canada, Alaska and the continental United States while USNORTHCOM oversees command and control of homeland defense issues and coordinates defense support of civil authorities upon request.