Command Chief Master Sergeant Richard T. Small entered the United States Air Force in October 1983, and is a native of Kershaw, South Carolina. He has served in a variety of progressively responsible positions at every echelon from squadron to Headquarters US Air Force, as well as the diplomatic staff of the American Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. He has significant multinational, coalition, joint service and interagency leadership experience in support of Operations Southern Watch, Joint Forge, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Following basic military and technical training, Chief Small was assigned as a personnel specialist for the 37th Aircraft Generation Squadron at George Air Force Base in California. From 1985 to 1989 he was the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of Air Traffic Administration for the 2147th Communications Wing at RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom. In 1989 he was reassigned to Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina where he served as the NCOIC of the Commander's Support Staff for the 4507th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and later served as the Superintendent of the 363d Operations Group command section. In 1992 he was assigned to Headquarters 9th Air Force Office of the Inspector General as an information management inspector. In 1995 he reported to Headquarters Air Combat Command Office of the Inspector General at Langley Air Force Base as Superintendent of Information Management Inspections. From November 1998 to October 1999 he was assigned to the US Defense Attaché Office, American Embassy, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, as Operations Coordinator. In 1999 he was reassigned to Headquarters US Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, DC, as Air Force Career Field Manager for Information Management. In May 2003 he was selected for duty as Command Chief Master Sergeant and deployed to Southwest Asia initially serving as the 363d Air Expeditionary Wing Command Chief at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, then as the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Command Chief. In June 2004 he was reassigned as the 16th (later 1st) Special Operations Wing Command Chief at Hurlburt Field, Florida. From December 2005 to March 2006, he deployed to Southwest Asia as Command Chief for the Combined/Joint Special Operations Air Component. In December 2006 Chief Small became the Command Chief for 9th Air Force/US Central Command Air Forces, headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. He was subsequently assigned in 2008 to Peterson Air Force Base as the Command Chief for Air Force Space Command. He assumed responsibilities as the Allied Command Operations Senior Noncommissioned Officer in August 2011. As the command's senior enlisted leader, he provides the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe staff with the enlisted perspective on strategic vision, goals and objectives, and leads the command's efforts on enlisted professional development.
Chief Small earned a Master of Public Administration Degree and recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Joint Warfare Studies. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (cum laude), an Associate of Arts Degree, and two Associate Degrees in Applied Science. He is a three-time recipient of the US Air Force's John Levitow Honor Graduate Award, having graduated first in class from the Royal Air Force Mildenhall NCO Preparatory Course, 3rd Air Force NCO Leadership School, and Tactical Air Command NCO Academy. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the US Air Force Senior NCO Academy. He is a graduate of the Joint Military Attaché School Staff Operations Course, the National Defense University Keystone Command Senior Enlisted Leader Course, and the US Air Force Senior Leadership Course. He completed the Joint Special Operations University Joint Special Operations Forces Command Course, the Gettysburg College Gettysburg Leadership Experience Course, the National Security Space Institute Space Operations Executive Course, the Joint Forces Staff College Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education Course, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School Enterprise Management Course.
His numerous awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Kosovo Campaign Medal with service star, Iraqi Campaign Medal with two service stars and North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal – Yugoslavia.
Chief Small was promoted to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant effective 1 December 1997. Chief Small is married to Frankie (Cartledge) and has 2 children.