86th AW welcomes new command chief

Capt. Erin Dorrance
Kaiserslautern American

Editor’s note: Chief Master Sgt. Harry Viel is the new command chief for the 86th Airlift Wing. He recently took time to introduce himself to KA readers.

Where are you from and where do you call home?
I’m originally from Randallstown, Md., which I still call home, but I currently plan to retire in the hills of northeast Pennsylvania.

Family members?
I have three children, two sons; Senior Airman H. Brooks Viel III, a computer operator stationed at Yokota AB, Japan; Airman 1st Class Michael Viel, a crew chief on U2s stationed at Beale AFB, Calif., and a daughter Mendy, pursuing a doctorate in psychology at the American Professional School of Psychology at Argosy University in Washington, D.C.

What did you think you were going to do with your life when you were thirteen years old?
At the age of thirteen I had dreams like most young men of the day, of being a professional athlete – a baseball player, to be more specific. Once reality set in, I had more realistic dreams of some day becoming a Maryland State Trooper – neither of which came true.

Why did you choose the military; and specifically the Air Force?
I chose the military, specifically the Air Force, because of my uncle, Ret. Col. H.G. “Hank” Tillman: a true role model who always spoke highly of the Air Force, specifically the opportunities the Air Force had to offer.

Was there a specific supervisor, mentor or friend that helped you reach your goals?
I have had numerous supervisors, friends and mentors throughout my career, all of which have played a significant role in molding me into the person I am today.  
To single out one would not be appropriate, although I would offer, if it wasn’t for Senior Airman Jeff Johnson, now Dr. (Lt. Col.) Jeff Johnson, who asked me a simple question, back in 1983, “Is it the job you don’t like, or the Air Force you don’t like,” I wouldn’t be here today.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?  
Running and playing golf.

Is there something you can share with us? Something that Airmen would be surprised to know about you?
I never intended to make a career out of the Air Force. I originally joined to gain experience and education in hopes of pursuing my dream to become a Maryland State Trooper.

What are your goals as the 86th AW command chief?  
First and foremost, to take care of all Airmen assigned, who are executing the mission, and their families in any way possible, from career to quality of life to addressing their personal concerns and issues.
I would also like to improve on the already outstanding operations of the 86th AW and to hopefully leave it a better place than when I arrived.