Command chief retires after nearly 30 years of service

  • Published
  • By Vanessa R. Adame
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Nearly three decades since joining the Air Force in 1994, Chief Master Sgt. Michael Morgan, 37th Training Wing command chief, ended his career in the very same place it began.

The young 18-year-old Morgan began his journey in the 322nd Training Squadron at Basic Military Training. He culminated his career by celebrating 29 years of service with friends and family at his retirement ceremony here, July 7.

In an interview with 37 TRW Public Affairs in May 2021, Morgan said he wanted to make sure “I’m doing the best I can for the team. I hope that I serve them well.”

Over the past two years, the chief has done just that. He recently sat down with the Public Affairs team once again to discuss highlights from his two-year assignment. 

Q: How would you describe the last two years?  
Morgan: The 37th is a phenomenal organization. And it has changed a lot over the past two years. When I first got here, we were coming out of the COVID pandemic, and we have done a lot to bring people back together, really bring back the culture of what it is to be a part of the military and part of the Air Force. One of the biggest feats of our team has done is bringing back bringing back families to the graduations. It’s such an amazing feeling to have the families come and share in their excitement, celebrate their newest Airman or Guardian.

Q: What do you count as your biggest successes?
Morgan: I don't count anything as a success for me personally. I think the team has been very successful in keeping things running smoothly, elevating the position of the senior enlisted leader within the organization, and really focusing on the command team concept. How we have an officer and a senior enlisted person coming together to take care of an organization and make the mission happen -- I think the team has done well in embracing that concept.

Q: When we last talked to you two years ago, you said you wanted to focus on force development. Has it played out how you envisioned it?
Morgan: In all honesty, no, I think it's played out a little bit better. My goal was to listen to the team to take care of people and to get stuff done. In force development, and in that we really uplifted the private organizations and instead of me telling them what to do, they actually really understand what they needed and asked for it and then found ways to get after it. So, we have empowered the force to develop themselves in the way that they need. So, it's been actually cool to see them create a development plan based off their own goals.

Q: What do you want your legacy to be?
Morgan: I don't know that I ever really wanted a legacy. I just wanted to take care of people. So hopefully, my legacy is something to the effect of people felt like I listened to them, like I took care of them; like I helped them match their personal and professional goals.

Q: What do you see for the future of the 37th Training Wing?
Morgan: The 37th Training Wing isn’t going anywhere. It’s a machine that the Air Force needs and a key component to the readiness of the force because we generate the next generation of Airmen who then also become electricians and mechanics and cyber warriors. So I think the future is going to be what the next generation brings to us.

Q: What is retirement going to look like for you?
Morgan: That's a great question. A lot of people have asked me what I will do when I retire. And the answer right now is I don't know yet. I do know that my family and I are looking forward to living in San Antonio for the next few years as my daughter attends a local university and my son enters high school. So, I think that the future for us would just be good citizens of San Antonio.

Q: What will you remember most from your time at the 37th Training Wing?
We've overcome so many challenges. One of the biggest memories I have is when we brought back the drill down competition and Second Air Force brought their drill teams to participate. And during the middle of it, we had a military working dog demonstration, and as we're all out there, I'm with my son who was 11 years old at the time, then the kennel master in a very loud voice says ‘Hey chief, Would you like to wrestle the dog?’ At this point, I kind of have to. I don't think I've ever seen so many trainees take out their phones from their pockets. That was probably the most recorded event of my life (laughs).

Q: Is there anything you wanted to do, that you couldn’t accomplish, and perhaps that can be passed to the incoming command chief? 
Morgan: I wish I had focused more time on the team. I did not spend a lot of time in the office, but I don't think I spent nearly enough time going to the units. Any advice I would have for the next command chief would be to spend as much time with the team as you can.