Reserve command chief retires with aloha
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (Feb. 12, 2017) – The command chief master sergeant of the 624th Regional Support Group, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, is scheduled to retire Feb. 28 after more than 25 years of service.
From humble beginnings in Vietnam, Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael M. Du immigrated to the United States as a child. In 1991 he joined the Air Force, later specializing as an aircraft crew chief at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. In 1997, he volunteered to cross train and went on to serve as the 4th Combat Camera Squadron superintendent at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., before assuming the command chief master sergeant position here.
Among his accomplishments at the 624th RSG, Du was instrumental in ensuring more than 650 Airmen from Hawaii and Guam were mission ready to execute demanding services in support of several operations and exercises.
On Feb. 11, Du spoke to an audience of family members, friends, and Airmen during his retirement ceremony at the Historic Hickam Officers Club.
"I have learned so much from each and every one of you," said Du. "Men and women of the 624th, I salute you."
Since his arrival in December 2014, Du has focused on getting to know the Airmen of the 624th RSG.
“How can we care for, train, and mentor our Airmen if we do not understand their challenges, needs, and motivations,” said Du.
He is most proud of being able to recognize and promote the right Airmen for the right reasons.
“If a six year old Vietnam refugee can retire as a command chief, then so can anyone,” said Du. “Everyone should realize that it is the journey that we all live for and not the destination.”
Through his service, Du has inspired Airmen across the Air Force Reserves.
"He is an Airman's, Airman," said Col. Kenneth M. Lute, the 624th RSG commander. "I am glad to have served with him as a wingman."
Tech. Sgt. Reiko P. Lovan, the 624th RSG development and training manager, said that Du always told her and the training flight to embrace the journey no matter what.
"His mentorship taught me to not shy away from volunteering or stepping up," said Lovan.
Reflecting on his career, one thing stayed constant--the support of his family, especially his wife.
“Without my family I would be half the man that I am today,” said Du. “I learned my integrity from my wife because she always does the right thing.”
More than 350 Airmen, family, and friends, many traveling from locations across the U.S., gathered to honor Chief Du for his mentorship and service.
"Chief Du will be missed, but his family will certainly benefit by having more of his time," said Senior Master Sgt. William O. Root Jr., the 624th inspector general for investigations superintendent.
After his official retirement, Du plans to spend more quality time with his family, progress in his civilian career, and pursue his law degree.