JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --
One of the most well-known and widely respected noncommissioned officers in the Alaska Air National Guard called it a career here June 3 after 30 years of service.
For the last two years Chief Master Sgt. Lance Jordan has been serving as the command chief master sergeant of the Alaska Air National Guard. In that capacity he served as the personal advisor to Alaska Air National Guard Commander Brig. Gen. Karen Mansfield, helping her oversee the combat readiness, health, welfare, development and quality of life for more than 2,300 Airmen.
Concurrently, Jordan served as the superintendent of the 176th Operations Group. He retired at a well-attended ceremony led by his younger brother Lt. Col. Michael Jordan, a helicopter pilot with the 210th Rescue Squadron.
"It started with a goal of getting some money for college, doing one six-year tour with the intent of moving on with my life and goals," Jordan said. "What changed my outlook on the Alaska National Guard occurred in July 1990, on summer break from the University of Alaska Anchorage. My phone rang. It was my National Guard unit, which at the time was called the 207th Air Traffic Control Detachment. They need help in Tok directing air traffic for the forest fire.
"Twelve hours later," Jordan continued, "I was in a portable air traffic control tower at the Tanacross Airfield near Tok. Vintage bomber aircraft outfitted to drop water were lined up on the ramp, and hundreds of people from all over Alaska were there with the common goal of diverting the fire away from Tok. The sense of purpose and accomplishment -- the pride I felt, being a part of such a large movement of force to accomplish a common goal -- was exhilarating. I was hooked, and the idea of leaving after six years of enlistment quickly faded."
Later, Jordan was asked to interview with the Alaska National Guard's Counterdrug Support mission.
"My eclectic skills and strong computer background got me assigned to the Alaska State Trooper Criminal Intelligence Unit, where as an Alaska National Guardsmen I supported the law enforcement agencies with data analysis," he said.
"Again, I was given the opportunity to serve in a capacity to help others, he related. "One example I vividly recall was assisting the Troopers with evidence processing in a four-unit apartment building where all rooms, except one bedroom and living room, were converted to a large-scale marijuana grow. The parents were arrested and a single child, maybe three or four years old, was found barefoot and mostly naked, walking on dirt and bits of glass from broken grow bulbs. The child was asking us for food as we entered the building.
"An extended family member was able to come and take custody of the kid. But the image struck with me, as the Alaska National Guard again gave me the opportunity to improve the lives of members of my community."
Jordan eventually moved over to operations, initially as a loadmaster with the 144th Airlift Squadron.
"As my hair thinned and my positions climbed in our organization," he said, "I found myself finding and encouraging other members to discover their own sense of accomplishment -- the profound pride in what we do, how we do it and who we serve, from literally thousands of lives saved with the Alaska National Guard rescue squadrons to the lives saved with disaster relief here in the United States and across the globe. Refueling strategic assets all over the world enabling American forces to accomplish more, further, and faster away. And the Space Warning Squadron, letting the nation sleep a little easier with its never-blinking eye on the sky looking for space debris and missiles.
"But it is not really about the missions, the aircraft, or the technology," he said. "It's about finding that pride in what we do, why we do it and how we can enable others to feel that as well. Alaskans helping Alaskans in their darkest hours, and being ready to help anyone anywhere."