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Chief retires as 937th member enlists with his help

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Laurence Lewis
  • 342nd Recruiting Squadron
For most of his 30-year career, Chief Master Sgt. Kurt Jensen served as an active duty survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist.  He taught  pilots and other Airmen what to do if they fall behind enemy lines.  When he switched from active-duty service to the Air Force Reserves in 1986, he retained a passion for teaching others how to overcome challenges, no matter how difficult. 

During the past seven years, Chief Jensen shared his personal experiences with Lacrosse area high school and college students, helping 937 young men and women land Air Force careers.

During his time working as a "Hometown Blue" recruiting assistant, Chief Jensen's extraordinary support included working every aspect of the recruiting process: from canvassing to interviewing and processing. His ability to sincerely communicate the Air Force message to community and school district leadership, applicants and their families helped two recruiters receive the coveted Gold Badge award as top producers in their squadron. 

Chief Jensen's retirement was done in true recruiting fashion.  Before his retirement order was read, the presiding officer, Brigadier General Frank J. Padilla, mobilization assistant to the 9th Air Force commander, swore in the last applicant to enlist with the chief's guidance. 

Lee Vancleef from Kendall, Wisc., enters active duty on Sept. 9 to serve as a tactical aircraft maintenance apprentice.

"My father is a retired Air Force senior master sergeant and I talked to all the branches," future Airman Vancleef said.  "But Chief Jensen and Master Sgt. Bill Tucker (the Lacrosse area Air Force recruiter) were the only ones who looked me in the eye and gave it to me straight -- the good and the bad. I really appreciated and respected that, and I'm going to take advantage of every opportunity the Air Force has to offer."

Although he's now retired, Chief Jensen said his love of the Air Force and desire to share that passion is still with him. As he moves on to the next chapters of his life, he plans to continue speaking to young men and women about the multiple opportunities the Air Force provided him and what the Air Force can do for them.

For most of his 30-year career, Chief Master Sgt. Kurt Jensen served as an active duty survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist. He taught pilots and other Airmen what to do if they fall behind enemy lines. When he switched from active-duty service to the Air Force Reserves in 1986, he retained a passion for teaching others how to overcome challenges, no matter how difficult.

During the past seven years, Chief Jensen shared his personal experiences with Lacrosse area high school and college students, helping 937 young men and women land Air Force careers.

During his time working as a "Hometown Blue" recruiting assistant, Chief Jensen's extraordinary support included working every aspect of the recruiting process: from canvassing to interviewing and processing. His ability to sincerely communicate the Air Force message to community and school district leadership, applicants and their families helped two recruiters receive the coveted Gold Badge award as top producers in their squadron.

Also during his time in recruiting, the 342nd Recruiting Squadron "G" Flight earned the title Top Enlisted Accessions Flight for fiscal years 2005 and 2006, as well as the 369th Recruiting Group title as Top Enlisted Accessions Flight in fiscal year 2005.

Chief Jensen retirement was done in true recruiting fashion -- before his retirement order was read, the presiding officer, Brigadier General Frank J. Padilla, mobilization assistant to the Commander, 9th Air Force, swore in the last applicant to enlist with the chief's guidance. Lee Vancleef from Kendall, Wisc., enters active duty on Sept. 9 to serve as a tactical aircraft maintenance apprentice.

"My father is a retired Air Force senior master sergeant and I talked to all the branches, but Chief Jensen and Master Sgt. Bill Tucker [the Lacrosse area Air Force recruiter] were the only ones who looked me in the eye and gave it to me straight -- the good and the bad. I really appreciated and respected that," said future Airman Vancleef after the retirement ceremony. "I'm going to take advantage of every opportunity the Air Force has to offer."

Although he's now retired, Chief Jensen said his love of the Air Force and desire to share that passion is still with him. As he moves on to the next chapters of his life, he plans to continue speaking to young men and women about the multiple opportunities the Air Force provided him and what the Air Force can do for them.

"How great an opportunity that at the twilight of my career, I can help young people start a new and fulfilling life in the Air Force," Chief Jensen said. "You just can't put a price tag on something like that."
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