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Vandenberg says farewell to 'graceful leader'

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent, the 30th Space Wing command chief, takes the seat of honor at her farewell dinner here May 8. Chief Kent will take the 341st Missile Wing command chief position at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., after serving two years as command chief here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Antoinette Lyons)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent, the 30th Space Wing command chief, takes the seat of honor at her farewell dinner here May 8. Chief Kent will take the 341st Missile Wing command chief position at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., after serving two years as command chief here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Antoinette Lyons)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Col. David Buck, the 30th Space Wing commander, gives a farewell hug to Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent at her going-away dinner here May 8. Chief Kent will take the 341st Missile Wing command chief position at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., after serving two years as the 30th Space Wing command chief here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Antoinette Lyons)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Col. David Buck, the 30th Space Wing commander, gives a farewell hug to Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent at her going-away dinner here May 8. Chief Kent will take the 341st Missile Wing command chief position at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., after serving two years as the 30th Space Wing command chief here. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Antoinette Lyons)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Members of Team Vandenberg gathered at the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron hangar to say farewell to a friend, mentor and command chief May 8.

Chief Master Sgt. Cari Kent, the 30th Space Wing command chief, is transitioning to a new role as she and her family leave Vandenberg for Big Sky, Mont., to be a part of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB.

Chief Kent spent her time at Vandenberg learning, teaching, mentoring and listening to Airmen of all ranks. She is a genuinely concerning chief, said Chief Master Sgt. James Mackinley, the 14th Air Force command chief. "Everything she does, she is always concerned about how it will affect the Airmen, and that is what makes her a good chief."

Chief Kent will not only offer the 341st her advocacy for Airmen, but she will also inspire those around her with her upbeat style of leadership.

"She has such a positive attitude and is always upbeat," said Staff Sgt. Donnell Stokes, the 30th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of customer service systems. "She leads with grace and, because of that, she has inspired me to strive to become a chief master sergeant some day."

It's a sentiment the 30th Space Wing's commander echoes.

"Her enthusiasm, drive and her outgoing personality," said Col. David Buck, the 30th SW commander. "Those are all things she brings to the table, and things I will miss."

The chief was able to take that enthusiasm and apply it not only to her everyday tasks, but to opportunities that arose while she served the 30th SW.

"I love the mission here," Chief Kent said. "I love the tremendous opportunities I have been given as a part of the 30th Space Wing. I have rappelled out of a helicopter, ran into a burning building and was able to witness a diverse and amazing mission -- every launch is amazing."

The Oklahoma native not only possesses a positive attitude that will be missed, but leads her fellow Airmen by example.

"She epitomizes core values," Chief Mackinley said. "She doesn't just talk the talk, but she walks the walk. Her bearing is a perfect example for all Airmen to follow, not just junior Airmen."

Before Chief Kent escaped the farewell party, she was asked "what is one thing you will miss more than anything?" and she replied:

"The people, that's easy."