Backbone of KC-10 Maintenance Retires

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kimberly Lalley
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Family, friends and colleagues gathered Saturday to honor Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Christian as he retires from thirty years of service. Christian was the Maintenance Superintendent of the 714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, assigned to the 514th Air Mobility Wing. He was responsible for all maintenance actions on 32 assigned KC-10 aircraft, as well as, the training and supervision of 288 Airmen in six different specialties.

Presiding over the ceremony was Maintenance Group Commander, Col. Anthony Esposito. Esposito thanked his family for their support. Originally, Christian wanted to skip having a retirement ceremony, but Esposito encouraged him to take part in the time-honored tradition. Christian agreed under one circumstance, that Esposito would be the Master of Ceremonies.

Christian comes from a military family, his father, brother, sister-in-law and wife have all served. His wife is a retired Chief Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard and his oldest son an Airman First Class F-16 Crew Chief assigned to Shaw, AFB. His younger son also wants to join the military.

After leaving active duty Air Force in 1993, Christian, continued his service in the Reserves, as well as in his civilian career, becoming a police officer. He transferred to the 714th AMXS in 1994, where he’s served ever since. He was an Air Reserve Technician for 10 years. Esposito, speaking on Christian’s dedication and commitment to his duty, stated the Maintenance Group “used and abused him” as did the police department.

Christian deployed six times, leaving his family for Southwest Asia. He was recognized on his last deployment for his amazing maturity and the ability to get things done. Esposito remarked Christian’s loyalty to his country caused him to remain a traditional reservist.

“This Chief is taking care of business,” he said. “This doesn’t count all the crew chief trips of three to four days at a time, keeping aircraft flying and doing amazing things.

“It’s hard to watch the backbone of our KC-10 force leave,” Esposito continued. Christian is technically responsible for many Airmen and Chiefs that serve in the 714th AMXS today. Christian trained many. He will always be a member of the Maintenance Group. He filled a vacant Chief Master Sergeant billet at the 305th MXG. His talent will be missed.”

Ryan Guerrette, the 714th AMXS, newest Chief Master Sergeant gave remembered when he was a young Airman, Christian would show up and fix whatever needed to be fixed.

“Christian took care of everything from simple to intricate,” he said

Chief Master Sergeant Nicholas Fulfaro presented Christian the “Maintenance Man” award for his outstanding technical skills and leadership.

When Christian addressed the guests he said thirty years feels like yesterday. He reminisced about being in Basic Military Training in 1986 and sitting outside the ‘chow hall’.

“That’s what they called it back then,” he said. “It takes a village to raise a kid and I had a good village.”
Christian worked on the KC-10 for 22 years and has flown all over the world.

“The aircraft was a joy,” he said.

He grew up in Hawaii and admired the DC-10s as they flew across the sky. He found it fitting he got to work on it for 22 years.

“It’s still an honor when I see it in the sky”, he said.

Christian mentioned he’d been on deployments with austere conditions but still had a good time.

“It’s been a blast being in the Chief’s group and helping our Airmen”, he said.

He appreciated the honor to be a Chief of the 714th AMXS and promised he’ll still be around.