Remembering fellow Chief Master Sgt. Paul Pritchard

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Russell Kuck
  • 62nd Airlift Wing command chief master sergeant
It's very rare in the Air Force to lose someone who's still on duty after serving more than 30 years. 

This week, I want to pay respects to a fellow chief, Chief Master Sgt. Paul Pritchard. 

While we mourn his loss, I want to take a moment to reflect on and celebrate the accomplishments of his life. 

Chief Pritchard was the flight chief of the Blue Aircraft Maintenance Unit with the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. 

He used his supervisory and managerial skills to represent the enlisted, and those who knew him well, knew him as "Paul," who was always happy to share with and mentor his fellow Airmen. 

Paul was the epitome of a "McChord Airman." 

After completing aircraft mechanic technical training at Chanute Air Force Base, Ill., in March 1976, he was assigned to the 62nd Organizational Maintenance Squadron at McChord.

Three years later, he joined the Air Force Reserve and was assigned to the 313th Military Airlift Squadron. 

His fascination with aviation led him to his career with the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Eventually, Paul became the Seattle District FAA Safety Team Maintenance Program manager -- his full time civilian job. 

His loss reminds us not to take for granted the time we have with our family and friends. Anytime we lose a comrade to death, sickness or accident, there's a void we seek to fill. 

Although Paul is no longer with us, I want to remind his wife, Larkin, his children, Gretchen, Craig, Amber, Garrett, Paula, Pamela and Meaghan, and his grandchildren that they are still part of the Air Force family. 

This concept is one of the beautiful benefits of being in the military. 

Today, as we take some time to recognize the importance of being a good wingman, let's remember those who've been there for us and not forget the fact that we take care of our own.