JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas --
Twenty-fifth Air Force celebrated its' anniversary the last week of September with a host of events and activities. Highlighting the events was the annual Hall of Honor induction ceremony where Airmen honored four of their extraordinary predecessors.
Retired Col. William D. W. Grimes was a master-navigator with more than 5,500 flight hours in primarily reconnaissance aircraft and bombers. The consummate leader, Grimes earned the admiration and respect of generations of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance personnel by building operations, engineering and acquisition Quick Reaction Capability teams that rapidly put war-winning capabilities in the hands of intelligence warriors.
When tasked by the Air Combat Command commander to attempt the Predator/Hellfire integration, Grimes led a team that successfully fired a Hellfire C missile from a Predator – in just 72 days from tasking.
A true “Silent Warrior,” Grimes provided upgraded and modernized ISR, Intelligence Operations and Special Operations capabilities that supported El Dorado Canyon, Just Cause, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and many classified military operations, according to his biography.
“I have never known a leader better than Bill Grimes,” said retired Gen. Charles “Chuck” Horner. “Grimes dedicated his career to causing those in battle to triumph,” he said.
“During Desert Storm, he and his Big Safari team were a phone call away and rushed needed capabilities to us in hours,” Horner said. “He is humble, so he doesn't get the credit he deserves, but don't be confused, as he will destroy anyone who hinders his support of our air warriors. He is without equal.”
“Grimes is the father of today’s airborne ISR Force,” said retired Col. Ronald Haygood, president, Freedom Through Vigilance Association.
Retired Lt. Col. Paul J. McKenna was assigned from Officer Training School to USAF Security Service, 6921st Security Wing’s Consolidated Base Personnel Office, Misawa AB, Japan, as a second lieutenant in 1963. In 1967, he was selected to be the “advanced guard” to activate a unit on Okinawa, the 6990th Security Squadron.
At first, he was a ‘Squadron-of-One,’ being the first and only member of the unit. Rapidly, the squadron grew from one officer to more than 1,000 personnel. McKenna worked 12 to 16 hours a day to get the unit off the ground, setting up housing, dormitories, mess facilities, transportation, flight equipment and the required Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility at Tori Station. His commander, then, Lt. Col. Doyle E. Larson, credited McKenna with being a principal organizer who, in record time, enabled the unit to begin operations in direct support to combat commanders in Southeast Asia.
From Okinawa, Capt. McKenna volunteered for combat duty in Vietnam. In 1974, he was named base commander of Royal Air Force, West Ruislip. Larson then asked him to come to Headquarters Strategic Air Command to be his assistant executive officer, where he remained until Larson was named the USAFSS commander. He was chosen by Larson to be a key member of the ESC Activation Team. McKenna was Larson’s jack-of-all-trades, Haygood said.
Then a lieutenant colonel, McKenna helped establish the Comfy Olympics program and worked with the University of Texas, San Antonio to develop a Science, Technology, Electronics and Mathematics Program.
McKenna retired from active duty on Jan. 31, 1989, but continues to influence ISR through his sculptures, to include those of Generals Larson, Stapleton and Ardisana that currently reside in 25th Air Force Headquarters buildings and Stapleton Park. His ESC Chess Piece stands outside Building 2000 and sculptures of Medal of Honor Winner John Levitow grace the education centers at Security Hill and Goodfellow Air Force Base, while other command members are memorialized by his works in England, Germany and Japan.
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth C. Maynard was an exceptional linguist, collection operator, transcriber, analyst and reporter. He was considered the expert on Soviet Air Forces, and was consistently recognized for his translation and analytical expertise.
He was a Soviet analyst extraordinaire and the National Security Agency’s representative to international conferences, Haygood said.
Among his achievements, Maynard meritoriously earned a Joint Service Commendation Medal for a single five-day period in September 1983. The NSA citation noted his superior analytic and technical skills in a high stress, time constrained environment during an international crisis.
Maynard advanced the mission at every assignment. From Wakkanai to Berlin, from Misawa to Ramstein, his innate ability to establish good relationships and inspire others to superior performance meant his teams consistently out-produced all others, according to his biography.
Maynard was the only military enlisted member to serve as an NSA representative at international conferences working on tactics and weapons evaluations. He forged strong bonds between intelligence and the war fighter.
The chief excelled outside the Intelligence Community environment as well.
He was selected to stand up the 695th Intelligence Wing to support Tactical Air Command, and he expanded intelligence support and aircrew augmentation for COMPASS CALL operations that directly increased TAC’s combat capabilities.
Maynard’s career spanned reorganizations, a transition to an all-volunteer force, wars ending and wars beginning, and senior leaders counted on him to take care of the troops and get the job done.
Retired Chief Master Sgt. Jesse L. Greene, while stationed at Detachment 2, 6994th Security Squadron, DaNang, South Vietnam, and 6994 SS, served two tours flying EC-47 combat reconnaissance missions. Greene attained Category 4 Airborne Morse Operator, the highest operator qualification, and he was also an Airborne Mission Supervisor.
During a critical manning shortage, Greene volunteered to work in the Reporting and Analysis Section, even though he was not trained. His performance was outstanding, producing on a level commensurate with that of a seasoned, highly-experienced analyst.
Greene spent 13 years as a first sergeant. As the 67th Support Squadron first sergeant he was responsible for more than 9,000 personnel. In caring for the Airmen, he was the key leader in a drive to raise more than $30,000 for a squadron member’s son to receive a liver transplant.
During his tenure as the 6988th Electronic Security Squadron first sergeant, Greene was the sensitive and sensible counselor the enlisted force trusted, no matter what the problem. He was the bedrock of personnel and family support while unit members spent 23,000 man-days of temporary duty in one year; the 6988th was the most heavily committed squadron during Desert Storm.
Greene was instrumental in the successful 6916 ESS move from Athens, Greece, to Royal Air Force, Mildenhall, United Kingdom. He master-minded the sponsor program and reception of 100 personnel who moved from the 6916 ESS when troops deployed before their families could find quarters. The Electronic Security Command Inspector General rated his personnel programs as excellent.
The chief was a true enlisted leader who was engaged with leadership and Airmen alike to achieve results and accomplish missions. His combat hours in the EC-47 and his work as a masterful first sergeant make him an exceptional Airman, Haygood said.
Honoring extraordinary ISR Airmen is an important part of the annual anniversary of the enterprise.
"The 25th Air Force and FTVA anniversary week is a great time to reconnect with old and new friends, remember our fallen warriors and recognize a new class of Hall of Honor inductees...the Airmen whose shoulders we still stand on today," said retired Chief Master Sgt. Ted Colquhoun, vice president, FTVA. "Our motto has always been 'Remain in Touch,' and it still rings true to this day with our annual celebration."