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Meet the next 162nd command chief

Senior Master Sgt. Shane Clark, 162nd Fighter Wing Fire Department chief, rehearses emergency response procedures during an exercise at Tucson International Airport. Sergeant Clark was appointed to be the wing’s next command chief master sergeant, Oct. 8; an additional duty he will assume Saturday, Nov. 7, from Command Chief Master Sgt. Phil Conway who will retire after serving 39 years with the wing. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve).

Senior Master Sgt. Shane Clark, 162nd Fighter Wing Fire Department chief, rehearses emergency response procedures during an exercise at Tucson International Airport. Sergeant Clark was appointed to be the wing’s next command chief master sergeant, Oct. 8; an additional duty he will assume Saturday, Nov. 7, from Command Chief Master Sgt. Phil Conway who will retire after serving 39 years with the wing. (Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve).

TUCSON, Ariz. -- As an Arizona Air National Guard firefighter, Senior Master Sgt. Shane Clark's career taught him to stay cool under pressure, lead from the front and take care of people - skills that earned him an appointment to the 162nd Fighter Wing's highest enlisted post. 

Wing leadership announced Sergeant Clark as the next command chief master sergeant, Oct. 8. He accepted his appointment as the unit's top enlisted member and is expected assume his new duties during a change of authority and promotion ceremony scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 7, at 2 p.m. in the base auditorium.

"I'm honored to be selected by the wing commander to represent the enlisted force," said Sergeant Clark. "It's a new chapter in my life, a very exciting chapter which, I know, comes with a great degree of responsibility."

The command chief advises the commander on all enlisted matters, including issues affecting the wing's mission and operations, and the readiness, training, utilization, morale, technical and professional development, and quality of life of all enlisted members in the unit. The command chief is also the functional manager for all first sergeants in the wing and serves as the senior member of the Chief's Council.

Sergeant Clark will not hang up his fire chief hat any time soon. He will remain as the wing's full-time fire department chief, effectively taking on two major roles on base.

Before applying for the position, Sergeant Clark consulted two groups of people; first his family, then his fellow firefighters.

"I needed to be sure that as a family and as a fire department we were ready for me to take on the command chief job. It's with their support that I'll be able to do both jobs."

According to Clark, the need for a command chief to establish a presence in the various units on base and develop relationships with Guardsmen at all levels isn't much different from his duties as a fire department chief.

"My years as a firefighter, helping units with fire prevention programs, have enabled me to meet so many people already and that will only help me in what I need to accomplish as command chief. I know the senior leaders, the shop supervisors and the young Airmen out there making the wing successful; and they know me," Sergeant Clark said.

"I love working with people, and this is the ultimate job to allow that to happen. My goal is to open more lines of communication and make the mission better by utilizing the input of the people."

Sergeant Clark, a Tucson native, joined the 162nd as a traditional Guardsman in June 1983 after graduating from Tombstone High School. In 1984 he was hired as a full-time fire protection specialist in the base fire department where he's served ever since.

However, not all of his 26 years of service were in full-time positions.

Sergeant Clark said he understands the challenges facing drill status Guardsmen at the wing; an ability he attributes to a two-year stint as a Rural Metro Fire Department chief from 2006 to 2008. During that period he remained a member of the wing's part-time force.

"In those two years I gained a perspective of what it's like to be a drill status Guardsman. Working here two days per month showed me that what happens between drills needs to be communicated to people to keep them informed and focused. That's what's going to allow our Airmen to be more productive while accomplishing the mission, and that's something I hope to share with base leaders as command chief."

In his spare time Sergeant Clark raises and rides horses, and is an avid golfer.

He also enjoys spending time with his family. He has two daughters, Sierra, 7, and Kendall, 6; and has been married to his wife Loraine for eight years.