South Dakota Air National Guard appoints new Command Chief
By Tech Sgt. Luke Olson, 114th Fighter Wing
/ Published February 07, 2016
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- 2016 will see a new Command Chief Master Sgt. in the state of South Dakota. Chief Master Sgt. Jeanne Gacke will be replacing Chief Master Sgt. James M. Welch, as the new State Command Chief for the South Dakota Air National Guard. Gacke was appointed to the position December 4, 2015. The Command Chief position is a traditional guard member position so Gacke will continue to serve in her role as the 114th Fighter Wing Security Forces Manager full-time as well.
"It's an honor to serve with and represent the airmen of the South Dakota Air National Guard," said Gacke. "I want all the Airmen to know that it is my focus to represent them and this unit to the best of my ability as we move forward."
Gacke enlisted with the 114th Fighter Wing Security Forces in January of 2000, brining with her over nine years of active duty experience. She came into the plans and programs section of security as a Staff Sgt., but was quickly given more responsibilities, in part, because of her active duty experience. After 9/11 she was activated with the Security Forces Squadron for over a year. Since then Gacke has accepted opportunities to become a full time Active Guard and Reserve member with the unit, and climbed her way up the enlisted ranks.
"The mentors I've had were a key piece of the opportunities I have had," said Gacke. "Master Sgt. Jerrad Snyder, and my predecessor Retied Chief Master Sgt. Ron Meland, are just a couple of the supervisors and co-workers that trusted me. Without all of my mentors and the opportunities they gave me, I would not be here."
Once Chief Meland retired in 2009, Gacke applied for his position as Security Forces Manager and was selected. That same year, she was honored with the rank of Chief Master Sgt. and became the first Female Chief Master Sgt. for the 114th Security Forces squadron. She has continued on this path becoming the first Female Command Chief Master Sgt. for the state of South Dakota.
"I am so excited to work with and represent the airmen of this unit," said Gacke. "The future holds new opportunities and possibilities for us, and it's an honor to work with and represent the airmen who will be guiding this unit into that future."
In addition Chief Gacke wants to let all South Dakota guard members know that she will always be there. "No matter how small the problem, I am available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to help you work through it."