Chief Master Sergeant Lee Hoover is proud of the enlisted force at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base that he leads as Command Chief of the 42d Air Base Wing, and he takes every opportunity to share and sing the praises of the important role the base’s airmen play in the base’s success.
Where are you originally from? I was born and raised in Snohomish, Washington, a small town north of Seattle. Most of my family still resides there, as does my heart.
When and why did you join the Air Force? I joined the Air Force in January 2001. I don’t remember what led me into the recruiter’s office that first time, but I do know I was looking for opportunity. I knew I didn’t have a bright future if I stayed home, and the Air Force offered an opportunity to do something bigger and better. I was sold and have been since my first assignment.
How long have you been Command Chief of the 42d Air Base Wing? About a year. I arrived here in May 2021. My family and I have really enjoyed Montgomery. Being from the Pacific Northwest, we weren’t sure what to expect, but we have found the community here to be welcoming and kind. We enjoy the climate and culture and are grateful we get to spend another year here.
What are your primary duties/responsibilities in the role? My job is to lead, develop and equip our enlisted force and to serve as an advisor and teammate to our Wing Commander, Col. Eries L. G. Mentzer. Our enlisted force makes up more than 80 percent of our uniformed Airmen, which is a surprise to many. We are the engine that keeps the Air Force running so well, and it’s my honor and pleasure to lead the enlisted Airmen here at Maxwell-Gunter.
How does your background in broadcast journalism come into play in this role? One of the joys of serving as a broadcast journalist was the opportunity to spend time with Airmen in different specialties. One week I’d be on a flight line with our maintainers and the next in a village with our medics during a medical support mission. From the beginning of my career, I was introduced to the different roles our Airmen take on to serve our country, which is helpful today. I suppose my journalism background also helps with communication, which is certainly the most challenging endeavor of leadership.
What’s your favorite or most rewarding aspect of your work? Connecting with our team of enlisted Airmen. I enjoy getting to know who they are and what makes up the root of their character. We have tremendous Airmen, and there is no greater joy than serving alongside them.
What’s one thing about the 42d AB Wing that you think Montgomerians should know (that they probably don’t)? We are small, but mighty. From a purely numbers perspective, the 42d Air Base Wing is considered a small wing, but we have a massive impact on our Air Force as we support our 45 mission partners who operate on Maxwell and Gunter, including Air University, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the 331st Recruiting Squadron, the 26th Network Operations Squadron and more. We provide the world-class installation support they need to operate at such high levels. Maxwell Air Force Base has a long history and tradition of changing the world and our Air Force, and that simply couldn’t happen without our small but mighty team of Airmen in the 42d Air Base Wing.
What are your interests outside of work? I have a beautiful wife and two daughters who are my world outside of work. When I’m unfortunate to not be with them, I spend as much of that time as I can running and reading.
“This year, the 42d Air Base Wing team was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the significant work we’ve accomplished over the last two years,” Chief Master Sergeant Lee Hoover said. “It’s a testament to the work our team has done to maintain a high level of readiness and mission accomplishment during the trying last two years.”