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New command chief set to lead

Command Chief Master Sgt. Henry L. Hayes, Jr.

Hanscom Command Chief Master Sgt. Henry L. Hayes, Jr., speaks to members of the 66th Air Base Group during a commander's call at the base theater Aug. 15. During the commander's call, Hayes took responsibility as the installation’s command chief master sergeant during an informal ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)

Chief Master Sgt. Henry L. Hayes, Jr.

Hanscom Command Chief Master Sgt. Henry L. Hayes, Jr., meets with Staff Sgt. Angelo Reyes in his office Aug. 16. Hayes took responsibility as the installation’s command chief master sergeant during an informal ceremony at the 66th Air Base Group Commander’s Call at the base theater Aug. 15. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Chief Master Sergeant Henry L. Hayes, Jr., took responsibility as the installation’s command chief master sergeant during an informal ceremony at the 66th Air Base Group Commander’s Call at the base theater Aug. 15.

In this position, the first-time command chief will advise Col. Roman L. Hund, installation commander, on matters concerning the enlisted force.

While his official duties pertain primarily to the welfare of enlisted Airmen, Hayes discussed his commitment to all members of Team Hanscom.

“I want to be able to render whatever relief and wisdom that I can to the entire population at Hanscom, and not just the enlisted men and women,” he said. “If you have access to the installation, then you have access to Henry Hayes.”

That mindset stems from his passion to help those around him.

“My goal is to enrich lives,” the chief said. “You can only do that through contact.”

He also spoke about developing Airmen.

“My goal here is to have quality mission accomplishment - that’s what we’re hired for,” Hayes said. “Let’s get that done and then have some professional and personal development along the way so we’re better Airmen.”

Hayes, the son of a Army Soldier, has been in the Air Force for 27 years.

He enlisted soon after graduating high school. After completing basic training and technical training as an aircraft structural maintenance specialist, he was assigned to the former Carswell Air Force Base in Texas, supporting B-52 operations during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

“I knew what hard work was from the very beginning,” he said.

Like many who enlist in the Air Force, Hayes was not thinking far beyond that first four-year commitment.

It wasn’t until a deployment in 2003 to Qatar as an aircraft battle damage repair craftsman that he really began to think long term.

“During that deployment, I realized that there is still more that I can give [to the Air Force],” he said. “That’s the moment that the Air Force became a part of me, and not just me a part of the Air Force.”

In addition to being a maintainer, Hayes has been an academic affairs superintendent at Squadron Officer College, Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, from 2005 to 2009, where he also served as an additional duty first sergeant.

Following that assignment, Hayes was a first sergeant at a number of organizations from 2009 to his previous assignment as the first sergeant for Headquarters Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. In that position, the chief was one of only 14 first sergeant chiefs in the total force.

He attributes those career-broadening positions to his preparation for this next chapter as command chief.

“My experiences yield toward being more prepared,” Hayes said. “I have an appreciation and deep respect for every functional area and position type in our United States Air Force, more than just our enlisted Airmen.”

The chief has captured a number of awards throughout his career, including Airman Leadership School Distinguished Graduate, Squadron Officer College Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Air Education and Training Command Senior NCO of the Year, and two selections as First Sergeant of the Year.

He has also deployed in support of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

When asked about his education, the chief, who has two Community College of the Air Force degrees and a bachelor’s degree, spoke about “diversity in capabilities.”

“I have a bachelor’s in biblical studies and theology,” he said. “That actually helped me very well with being a first sergeant and being in tune with people, problems and challenges.”

That is also something Hayes and his wife, Stephanie, and their children have used in their personal lives. Together they have fostered 13 children and adopted two.

“There are an abundance of children that need permanency,” he said. “It’s something that became a part of who we are.”

The Hayes family looks forward to learning more about the history in Massachusetts and surrounding states.

“There is a rich history in this area that I hope people really gain an understanding of. We are so excited about it,” he said.