Air Force family has special meaning for retiring Chief

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Eric Amidon
  • 27th APA
We often hear of the "Air Force Family" when speaking of the entire Air Force organization.  But for Chief Master Sgt. Dale Place, the term has a smaller more intimate meaning.  For when the Chief retired in September, the ceremony was officiated by his son Air Force Capt. Lee Place, and narrated by his daughter Tech. Sgt. Rebecca Place.  Not to exclude the other services, his nephew, Army Sergeant Samuel Cunningham acted as proffer.

As the Aerial Port family gathered to recognize the many achievements of Chief Place, they were joined by his wife, Kay Place; their daughter, Marla Butler; his parents, Merlin and Virginia Place; as well as special guest,  former AFRC Commander Lieutenant General (Ret.) John Bradley.

Chief Place's military career started in 1972 when he joined the Navy after having graduated from Spring Valley High School in his hometown of Spring Valley, Wis.  After his service commitment with the Navy was completed, he spent 20 years on the family's dairy farm until the sale of their cattle in 1996. The sale provided him an opportunity to resume his military career once more by joining the Air Force Reserve.

He joined the 27th Aerial Port Squadron in 1996 and during his 18 years of service he became a valued and dedicated member of the Aerial Port family. In 2008 he became the Superintendent of the Aerial Port where his responsibilities included representing the Commander of the 27th Aerial Port and advisor to senior leadership in all matters concerning the enlisted force in the squadron.

Chief Place deployed five times in direct support of Operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Provide Promise, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. He has also played a significant role in the logistical movement of humanitarian cargo to Haiti, Guatemala and Afghanistan. Special guest, Lieutenant General (Ret.) John Bradley flew in to personally honor and thank Chief Place for his dedicated service to the humanitarian relief effort.

As the ceremony unfolded, the pride felt by all in attendance was obvious as the Chief's family witnessed his fellow comrades-in-arms and his military family, say farewell and a job well done.