Top enlisted communicator retires

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Michael Hunsaker
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Morris, 434th Communications Squadron senior enlisted leader retired Jan. 21, 2023 following a 22-year career.

Morris joined the Air Force in 2001 and was assigned to Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama as a computer systems operations apprentice.

His next assignment took him to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio where he was placed in the NCO retraining program due to an overmanned career field.

“Rather than retraining I chose to separate and immediately joined the Air Force Reserve,” he said. That was in 2008, and he has been a part of the 434th CS ever since.

The long-time communicator has seen many changes to the career field during his tenure. One of those changes would be transitioning into more cyber protection.

“The highlight of my time here has been my work moving towards cyber defense – and that is ongoing,” he said.

He added that the men and women at Grissom have ‘taken the bull by the horns’ and forging a plan and taking initiative to keep the mission going.

In 2019 he deployed to Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, and received the most professional development he’s received during his entire career.

He said he received great mentorship from his chief there, and hopes he has passed on some of that to his squadron by empowering his NCOs to make decisions and not to micromanage and let them do what their rank allows.

“Let them make a mistake and then counsel,” the chief said. “On the other side of it ‘here’s what we could have done differently, here’s what we did well. That’s just something that really stuck with me, and I’ve tried to pass that on.”

Morris wants new or younger Airmen is to take advantage of opportunities.

“See the world, go on deployments, get outside of your comfort zone, so that when you do have to be outside your comfort zone, you’re comfortable in that space, you’ve been there and you know how to figure it out,” said Morris. “Mostly just take advantage of any opportunity that comes up.”

He says there is a lot he is going to miss.

“I’m going to miss the friendships, the connections I have here at the squadron and throughout the wing,” said Morris. “Knowing that you’re a part of the world’s greatest Air Force, I still feel like will be, but it’s going to be different. I’m mostly going to miss the personal relationships and the connections.”