HomeMediaArticle Display

Gettys, Nelson retire from the Alaska National Guard

Senior Air National Guardsmen retire.

Chief Master Sgt. Paul Nelson, Alaska National Guard's Senior Enlisted Leader, ceremonially blouses his boots Aug. 4, 2018, during his retirement ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Jump boots and maroon beret are parts of a pararescueman’s distinctive uniform. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. David Bedard)

Senior Air National Guardsmen retire.

Retired Col. Mark Hedlund (left), former 168th Wing commander, presents a certificate of retirement to Brig. Gen. Blake Gettys, director of the joint staff, Alaska National Guard, Aug. 4, 2018, during his retirement ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Gettys served for 30 years. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. David Bedard)

Senior Air National Guardsmen retire.

Alaska Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Blake Gettys, director of the joint staff, Alaska National Guard, and Chief Master Sgt. Paul Nelson, Alaska National Guard's Senior Enlisted Leader, mark decades of service Aug. 4, 2018, during their joint retirement ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Gettys and Nelson chose the 212th Rescue Squadron as the venue in honor of Nelson’s service as a pararescueman with the unit. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. John Callahan)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --

Two senior Alaska Air National Guardsmen marked 63 years of combined service in an Aug. 4, 2018, joint retirement ceremony at the 212th Rescue Squadron alert bay at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

 

Brig. Gen. Blake Gettys, director of the joint staff, Alaska National Guard, marked 30 years of service, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Paul Nelson, senior enlisted leader, AKNG, marked 33 years of service during the ceremony.

 

Retired Col. Mark Hedlund, former commander of the Alaska Air Guard’s 168th Wing at Eielson Air Force Base, said he shaved and sat for a haircut before putting on his dress uniform to preside over Gettys' retirement ceremony.

 

Airmen, Soldiers, family members and friends crowded into a bay of the 212th RQS headquarters building. Hedlund said the leadership of Gettys and Nelson was instrumental in securing the pararescue facility, and it stands as one of many monuments to their service.

 

“A lot of what you see here today at this complex is because of the both of them,” the colonel said during his remarks.

 

Hedlund said he took a break from retirement because of a pact he made with Gettys years ago stating the two would retire each other. Gettys presided over Hedlund's retirement ceremony in November 2015.

 

“Blake could have easily retired after his time as wing commander, but his patriotism compelled him to serve, and he continued to serve at the state level,” Hedlund said. “Selfless service, unwavering dedication and patriotism are what Blake will be remembered for.”

 

Gettys presided over Nelson's ceremony. As a former 176th Operations Group commander, Gettys said he really got to know Nelson after he selected the noncommissioned officer as group superintendent.

 

“In hindsight, Chief, it was the best hire I made in 30 years,” the general said.

 

Gettys said Guard Airmen and Soldiers should avoid self-pity and always keep in mind the task at hand.

 

“When faced with choices, if you keep the mission as your central focus and motivation, you will be headed in the right direction,” he said.

 

Nelson said he was never challenged in finding the right words when advocating for the Alaska National Guard with state and federal officials.

 

“It's amazing how really easy you all made my job,” he said. “For that, I am forever grateful. I thank every one of you for how you enriched my life and my experience in the Alaska National Guard. I wouldn't want to serve anywhere else except with this organization in this state.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.