General Hooper and Chief Hill formally retire
By By Airman 1st Class Lillian Chatwin, 151 ARW/PA
/ Published July 11, 2010
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Assistant Adjutant General of the Utah ANG, Brig. Gen. David M. Hooper, and the Command Chief Master Sgt. Robert Hill retired in a formal ceremony on base July 10.
At the commencement of the ceremony, General Hooper and Chief Hill were presented with the Utah Joint Medal of Merit for their distinctive accomplishments, service before self and for their distinguished careers in the service of their country and state.
General Hooper said he thought it was appropriate that he had his retirement ceremony together with Chief Hill's as they are good friends, and had traveled and deployed around the world together.
"As the senior enlisted advisor, Hill has been the greatest advocate for the Utah ANG," said General Hooper of his friend. "He has given more of his free time to the Guard, than anyone else I know."
Chief Hill started his military career in 1979 as a Radar Repair Technician in Utah Air National Guard. His assignments include time in the 106th Tactical Control Squadron, 151st Communications Flight and 299th Range Control Squadron serving in various technical and supervisory positions. He then served in the 151st Operations Support Flight as the Combat Crew Communications Non Commissioned Officer in Charge and Superintendent. Chief Hill became wing command chief in 2003, and has been state command chief since 2005. He also served as the President of the Utah Air National Guard Chief's Council.
Numerous officers and senior enlisted Guard members took the stage to thank General Hooper and Chief Hill for their service. Along with several gag gifts, shadow boxes, coins and other mementos, they gave words of praise in honor of the two retirees.
However, when General Hooper took the microphone, he contended their words saying that flying airplanes has always been his dream, and it never really seemed like a job.
"I'm a little uncomfortable with all the things that have been said today, because for the past 31 years it has been my honor to wear this uniform," said General Hooper in a soft, broken voice. "It has been my privilege to work alongside so many people who have given the full measure of devotion."
General Hooper thanked his wife for her military service even though she was not enlisted, and told the audience (in a room filled to capacity, even standing room was occupied) about the invaluable lesson she had taught him.
"It doesn't matter the capacity in which you serve, but that you serve," said General Hooper.
During his 31 year military career, General Hooper accumulated over 5,300 flying hours as a T-37 Tweet, B-52 Stratofortess and KC-135 Stratotanker pilot, command pilot, group commander, and flight commander. He has served as commander of the Utah ANG since January 2007.
At the request of both General Hooper and Chief Hill the ceremony concluded with Retreat.
"As a member of the military, one of the things that have kept me grounded is the Retreat ceremony," said Chief Hill. "Watching the flags lower and hearing the Star Spangled Banner play at the end of every work day would always remind me why I serve."