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Wing first sergeant promoted in historic ceremony

Staff Sergeant Erin B Nielsen and Airman First Class Ainslee E Rager-McIlwaine perform the pinning of her new rank of Chief Master First Sergeant stripes on the mother SMSgt Denise M Rager.  She is the new 151st Wing First Sergeant along with being the first CMS First Sergeant of the Utah Air National Guard.  Salt Lake City, Utah. November 2, 2008
(Released) U.S. Air Force photo by: Tech. Sgt. Michael D Evans

Staff Sergeant Erin B. Nielsen and Airman First Class Ainslee E. Rager-McIlwaine pin the new rank of Chief Master First Sergeant on their mother, SMSgt Denise M. Rager on November 2, 2008. Chief Master Sgt. Rager is the new 151st Wing First Sergeant along with being the first "chief" first sergeant of the 151st ARW. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael D. Evans

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- In a historic ceremony on November 2, Senior Master Sgt. Denise Rager, the 151st Air Refueling Wing's new first sergeant, was promoted to the rank of "chief" in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the base auditorium.

Chief Master Sgt. Rager was hired in October 2008 for the position after serving as the 169th Intelligence Squadron's first shirt for five years. She holds the distinction of being the 151st ARW's first-ever first sergeant promoted to the rank of chief.

"We are excited to have Chief Rager on the wing staff to add her positive attitude, high energy and fresh outlook to the team," said Col. Sam Ramsay, 151st ARW vice wing commander.

Before her present assignment, she was a traditional member of the 169th since joining the Utah Air National Guard in 1995 as an airborne cryptology linguist. Prior to signing with the Utah ANG, she served on active duty for nine years.

"I feel that taking on this new leadership role allows me to carry out not only the responsibilities as a chief enlisted member, but foremost, to remain dedicated to taking care of people," said Chief Master Sgt. Rager. "Everyone has the ability, potential, and opportunity to make chief if you practice the Air Force's core values and good customer service skills without regard to what type of a job you perform, and care about people and understand that at times, it can be frustrating, but rewarding. Military service is not an eight- to-five job, and will at times cause you to juggle schedules, but again, it is rewarding. It's ultimately about your commitment."

Chief Master Sgt. Rager was "pinned" by her two daughters, who are also fellow Air Guardsmen, Staff Sgt. Erin Nielsen and Airman 1st Class Ainslee Rager-McIlwaine.

"Several years ago, I posed the question to them [my daughters] on the possibility of joining the military in some capacity, but they didn't want to hear a word regarding the subject. Several years later, things obviously changed, because they are both in...not in my wildest dreams would I have thought this would have happened this way. I'm so proud of them."