by Pascual Flores
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs
3/7/2014 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- As
Chief Master Sgt. Louis D. Orrie, Command Chief for the 305th Air
Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., exited the ramp
of the C-17 Globemaster III, he was greeted by a shower of water and
champagne from family and friends after his symbolic "fini-flight"
marking the end of his aviation career Feb. 25, 2014.
"You know that one day you have to stop flying, that one day every
aviator has to stop and hang up their helmet and flight-suit for one
final time," said Orrie. "You never think about it and before you know
it, there it is confronting you, staring you in the face and you can't
For Orrie, leaving the direct connection to his aviation career comes
with both joy and sorrow as he prepares for his new position as command
chief of the 37th Training Wing at Air Education and Training Command,
Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
"It's tough ... when I got here in the command chief role, my primary
job obviously was not to fly anymore and I was put in an inactive
status, so I moved from the world of an active flier at that time," said
Orrie. "When I entered the Air Force, I did six years as a maintainer
and transitioned into the operational world with a little more than 20
years as an aviator. I know now that I will never be a crewmember
Orrie makes up for the lack of flying by serving as the principal senior
enlisted advisor to the 305th AMW commander and senior staff. He is
responsible for attending to all matters of health, welfare and morale,
in addition to advising on the effective utilization, training and
professional development of the total enlisted personnel assigned to the
"I've had the opportunity to work with Chief Orrie on many projects
affecting our enlisted members such as dorm improvements, Honor Guard
manning, recognition programs and Airman Leadership School mentoring to
name a few," said Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Robinson, 87th Air Base Wing
command chief. "He is a passionate leader who cares about our Airmen."
Leaving the 305th AMW after an 18-month assignment, Orrie assumes the
same duty title of command chief for the much larger 37th TRW, the Air
Force's largest training wing. The 37th TRW is comprised of six air
groups, 21 squadrons, nearly 20 geographically separated unit schools in
nine locations throughout the U.S. with 4,000 permanent-party service
members, graduating more than 80,000 students annually, including Basic
"It's going to be a rewarding task," said Orrie. "About 27 years ago, I
walked out of basic training as Airman 1st Class Orrie, and here I am
getting ready to go back as the senior enlisted leader."
One of the issues Orrie wants to address there is the need for more personal communication.
"If there is one thing I wish to happen is for more face-to-face
communication," said Orrie. "People should sit down with their rate,
supervisor, friends, peers or others and talk, not text, not Facebook,
not anything like that and make that connection with someone on a more
personal level and not the technological level."
One of the main tasks Orrie wants to tackle stems from the recent BMT scandal.
"I want that institution to regain its place where the American populous
knows they can send their sons, daughters, grandchildren and there will
be no doubt that we will look after them as well, if not better than
Also on Orrie's agenda as the 37th TRW command chief is the
implementation of the new transition week that follow immediately after
graduating for trainees. While the basic military training curriculum
remains the same, it will just occur in seven and a half weeks rather
than the current eight and a half weeks with the eighth week focusing on
Core Values and preparation that will help set them up for success in
their life and military career.
"As our senior enlisted member, our command chief, it is a huge honor
for him to be out and fly with our folks and this is a little bit of a
bitter sweet day because this means personally for him the end of an
era," said Col. Richard Williamson, 305th Air Mobility Wing commander.
"It's bitter sweet because he is really going to miss this, but the
great thing is he is someone of experience, someone with the operational
credibility going to the crucible of basic military training down at
For the next two years, Orrie's new assignment to the 37th TRW will be
substantially busier and different as he assumes the role as senior
enlisted leader of all Airmen in tech training schools and BMT. For
Orrie, this is the perfect closing to his Air Force career.
"It is bitter sweet leaving, but if this is my last assignment, I think
it is very fitting to end where I had started many years ago," said