Former 12th Flying Training Wing command chief reflects on lifetime of service

  • Published
  • By Benjamin Faske
  • 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

“Service before self” is not just an Air Force core value to retired Chief Master Sgt. Robert Diehl, it's how he's lived his life for the last 60 years.

Diehl enlisted in the Air Force in 1961 and saw his distinguished Air Force career span 27 years, culminating with his final assignment in 1988 as the 12th Flying Training Wing command chief.

With his active duty life complete, Diehl continued his service at the U.S. States Air Force Academy, where he served as director of operations at the 34th Training Squadron. He was responsible for managing a $4 million dollar cadet budget and in-processing more than 1,200 new basic cadets annually. His last Academy stop was in 2010 as the training resources chief.

From one command chief to another, the camaraderie and selfless service is always a common denominator.

“It’s awesome to be able to share space with a predecessor, let alone someone with such an expansive resume,” said Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Stuart, 12th FTW command chief.  “Being able to share experiences and stories is probably the best way we can maintain our heritage. 

“Sure, the 12th Flying Training Wing has evolved over the years but our mission of training Airmen is just as crucial today as it was during his tenure in the wing,” Stuart added. “Servant leadership has been studied a lot in recent years and Chief Diehl is a walking example of a servant leader. I’m proud to be a part of the same legacy and hope I’m still going strong when I reach the same point in my life”

Diehl continues to serve as he volunteers his time at the 502nd Air Base Wing legal office at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, serving as witness to the execution of wills each month on Retiree Will Day.

“Chief Diehl’s continued leadership and service have made an extremely positive impact on myself and the younger paralegals in the office”, said Master Sgt. John Bell, 502nd ABW law office senior enlisted leader.  “It really shows that there are still people that truly care about the future of the United States Air Force and producing productive members of society.”

“Chief Diehl is a gem. He exemplifies service before self and taking care of Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Ja Rai Williams, 502nd ABW staff judge advocate. “We are extremely blessed to have him serve as a member of our team at the JBSA-Randolph legal office and as a mentor to all of us.

Diehl continues to volunteer with the Pine Valley Equestrian Center and is a member of the Academy's Cadet Extracurricular Activities Board where he continues to do what he knows best, serve his community.