Grissom welcomes new command chief

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing

Chief Master Sgt. Nathan Parks has taken the helm as the 434th Air Refueling Wing’s command chief.

Parks assumed the role after Chief Master Sgt. Wes Marion’s retirement in November. He joins the unit from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada where he served as the superintendent of the 726th Operations Group.

Parks was born in Osage Beach, Missouri. He joined the Air Force in 1996 as a C-5 Loadmaster, and later joined the Air Force Reserve in August of 2000.

During active-duty and reserve time, he’s supported a number of missions and served in various leadership roles.

Parks served in Operation Northern Watch, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Desert Fox, Operation Enduring Freedom, and several other military operations.

He’s earned several decorations including meritorious service, humanitarian service, aerial achievement, and combat readiness medals.

He and his wife Leah, share three children and two dogs and are looking forward to making their home in Kokomo.

Despite spending the last few years in Nevada, Parks welcomes the climate change.

“The weather has been interesting,” Parks said. “My wife and I are from Missouri and we’ve lived in colder climates before, so it’s a nice change from being in the desert. There’s already been some variety in the weather since we’ve been here, and I like it.”

However, it’s the career change that has he and his family most excited about being in Indiana.

Parks said his top priority is getting to know and making himself accessible to, the members of the 434th Air Refueling Wing.

“I’m looking forward to getting out and meeting everyone and seeing people in their work spaces,” he said. “I want to know how I can help and how I can remove obstacles for our Airmen.”

No two leaders are the same but Parks said that he does share wing commander Col. Larry Shaw and retired Chief Marion’s, belief in treating others with respect.

“Realizing that we are in the military and that we have to have that respect for rank is the start of it,” said Parks. “But treating each other with respect is just as much a part of how we function and I firmly believe in that.”

Stay connected, visit Grissom on Facebook and Twitter. The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Men and women from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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