Chief Master Sgt. James “Bill” Fitch is the Command Chief, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. As the Senior Enlisted Leader, he is the principle advisor to the commander on the training, readiness and welfare of 6,500 Airmen and Guardians. He assists the commander in execution of a $3 billion Air Force science and technology program and a $3 billion external research and development program. He helps manage a government workforce that spans across the globe through the laboratory’s nine component technology directorates, the 711th Human Performance Wing and AFWERX.
Chief Fitch entered the Air Force in November 1995. His background includes duties as an Evaluator/Instructor Boom Operator with over 3600 hours in KC-135R/T aircraft. His assignments include bases in North Dakota, Texas, England, Hawaii, Washington, Maryland and New Jersey. He has numerous deployments supporting Operations SOUTHERN/NORTHERN WATCH, DESERT FOX, ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING/IRAQI FREEDOM, JOINT GUARDIAN and INHERENT RESOLVE. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as the Command Chief, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force - Levant, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
1998 KC-135R Central Flight Instructor Course, Altus AFB, Okla.
1999 USAF Airman Leadership School, Grand Forks AFB, N.D.
2002 CCAF Associates in Aviation Operations
2005 USAF NCO Academy, Lackland AFB, Texas
2005 CCAF Instructor in Technology & Military Sciences
2005 CCAF Occupational Instructor Certification
2009 USAF Senior NCO Academy, Gunter Annex, Ala.
2013 Senior Enlisted Joint PME Course, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
2013 Chief Leadership Course, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
2016 Command Chief Master Sergeant Training Course, Randolph AFB, Texas
2016 Senior Enlisted Legal Orientation Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2016 Center for Creative Leadership, Leadership Development Program, Colorado Springs, Colo.
2016 Continuous Process Improvement for Executives, Institute for Defense & Business, Alexandria, Va. 2018 Enterprise Leadership Seminar, Kenan-Flagler Business School, Chapel Hill, N.C.
2019 Senior Enlisted Joint PME II, National Defense University, Washington D.C.
2020 Keystone Command Senior Enlisted Leader Course, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
1. 1995 - 1995, Trainee, Basic Military Training, Lackland AFB, Texas
2. 1996 - 1996, Student, Enlisted Aircrew Undergraduate Course (EAUC), Sheppard AFB, Texas
3. 1996 - 1996, Basic Boom Operator Course, Initial Qualification, Altus AFB, Okla.
4. 1996 - 2002, Mission, Instructor, Evaluator Boom Operator, 911th ARS, Grand Forks AFB, N.D.
5. 2002 - 2006, EAUC, Center of Excellence Instructor, 344th TRS, Lackland AFB, Texa
6. 2006 - 2010, First Sergeant, Operations Superintendent, 351st ARS, RAF Mildenhall, UK
7. 2010 - 2010, Superintendent, Standardization & Evaluation, 100th OG, RAF Mildenhall, UK
8. 2010 - 2013, Squadron Superintendent, 92d ARS, Fairchild AFB, Wash.
9. 2011 - 2012, Group Superintendent/First Sergeant, 376th AEG, Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan
10. 2013 - 2014, Squadron Superintendent, 96th ARS, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
11. 2013 - 2014, Group Superintendent, 15th Operations Group, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
12. 2014 - 2016, Group Superintendent, 92d Operations Group, Fairchild AFB, Wash.
13. 2016 - 2018, Command Chief, 89th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
14. 2018 - 2020, Command Chief, 87th Air Base Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
15. 2020 - 2021, Command Chief, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force - Levant, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait
16. 2021 - Present, Command Chief, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Service Medal with one silver leaf cluster
Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Meritorious Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster
AF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device and two silver leaf clusters Combat Readiness Medal with two oak leaf clusters
National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with two bronze stars
Kosovo Campaign Medal with one bronze star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one bronze star
Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary & Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Medal with three oak leaf clusters
NATO Medal for Kosovo
1999 USAF Airman Leadership School, Leadership Award 1999
319th Operations Group, Boom Operator of the Year
2001 911th Air Refueling Squadron, Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year
2004 344th Training Squadron, Instructor of the Year
2005 USAF NCO Academy, Distinguished Graduate
2005 344th Training Squadron, Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year
2008 351st Air Refueling Squadron, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year 2009 100th Operations Group, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year 2011 92d Air Refueling Squadron, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year 2012 92d Operations Group, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year 2013 96th Air Refueling Squadron, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Airman First Class – 16 December 1995
Senior Airman – 16 October 1997
Staff Sergeant – 1 July 2000
Technical Sergeant – 1 July 2004
Master Sergeant – 1 July 2007
Senior Master Sergeant – 1 Mar 2011
Chief Master Sergeant – 1 Sep 2014
(Current as of Aug 2021)