It's not goodbye Chief, it's see you later!

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ruben Rios
  • 514 Air Mobility Wing
The 514th Air Mobility Wing bids a bittersweet farewell to Chief Master Sgt. Dana L. Capaldi, 514 AMW command chief, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

Capaldi, a thirty-year veteran, began her career in the U.S. Air Force at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., in August of 1990.

“I knew there was more out there than my small farm town in Southern Illinois,” said Capaldi. “Originally, I thought the military seemed like a good option for four years, but here I am 30 years later.”

Capaldi, who has been the command chief of the 514 AMW since September 2018, leaves us to begin her deployment as command chief for the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Southwest Asia.

“I’ve been incredibly blessed to be part of this wing,” said Capaldi. “This wing is by far the most diverse wing that I’ve been to in the Air Force. I love what everyone brings to the table and how it pushes us to the next level.”

Under her leadership along with that of Col. Thomas O. Pemberton, 514 AMW wing commander and Col. Adrian R. Byers, 514 AMW vice wing commander, the 514 AMW has received multiple awards including winning three out of four categories for the Air Force Reserve Command Airmen of the Year Award in 2020.

“Aside from the awards we nearly swept this year, I think my favorite memories were being able to highlight all of my Airmen to both Lt. Gen. Scobee and the 18th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Chief Wright during their visits,” said Capaldi.

Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee is the Commander of the Air Force Reserve Command, at Robbins Air Force Base, Georgia, and Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth O. Wright, was the 18th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force at the Pentagon, Washington D.C.

Capaldi has always gone above and beyond her responsibilities as command chief at the 514 AMW out of consideration for her wingmen. From top to bottom, whether to a senior master sergeant or to a senior airman, Capaldi showed the same level of care for the well-being of all her Airmen.

Senior Master Sgt. Rebekah J. Spedaliere, 35th Aerial Port Squadron first sergeant, reflected on her interactions with Capaldi.

“Every time I saw chief, she would first ask how the Airmen were doing and then would ask how I was doing,” said Spedaliere. “There were times I felt I had no support in my personal life, and chief would tell me she cares about me and loves me. She would often say she loved us all. Not every leader says those things, and for me, it made an impact.”

Capaldi also took time out for junior enlisted airmen such as Senior Airman Tristian White, 714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aerospace proportion craftsman.

“I first met Chief Capaldi, during Chief Master Sgt. Wright’s visit,” said White. “I asked her what her favorite quote was, to which she replied, ‘Everyone has an ocean to fly’ by Amelia Earhart.”

But Capaldi does not only offer wisdom and compassion at work. Between ongoing social unrest and a pandemic that has yet to leave us, leadership like hers was needed this year, more than ever.

“She was a profound influence on my life, not only professionally, but personally,” said White. “To be honest, there was a time when I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to continue to serve. She reached out to check in on me and, most importantly, to listen to me. In the military world and in the real world, it is important for a leader to be empathetic.”

Capaldi will be the first reservist to serve as Command Chief Master Sergeant at the 379 AEW, the largest expeditionary wing in the world.

“This is the world’s greatest fighting force,” said Capaldi. “Reserve Citizen Airmen are the multi-talented Airmen that we need. Our reserve resilient leaders contribute to our overall readiness in dynamic situations both in garrison and overseas.”

Capaldi also had some final words for the airmen she has had under her wing for over two years.

“Keep moving forward,” said Capaldi. “You are in the right direction. Change, evolve, and move the mission forward but never forget your wingmen along the way. I am so humbled to have been able to serve along with you all and I will miss all of you!”

It’s not goodbye chief, it’s see you later.