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Retired chief recounts storied Air Force career

  • Published
  • By Robin McMacken, Skywrighter Staff
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. Roger Sloan can handily recount his military career, including his time as senior enlisted adviser at the 2750th Air Base Wing (now 88 ABW) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Sloan, who was the featured guest Sept. 14 in the Speaker Series at Miami Valley Military History Museum in Fairborn, lent a down-to-earth, at times humorous, and fascinating perspective during his “Life as a command chief” presentation.

Born in Danville, Sloan joined the Air Force in 1960 and traveled the world on various assignments.

Sloan’s last duty assignment was as command chief at 2750 ABW, which he held from 1987 to 1989. He retired Aug. 31, 1989. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Wright State University, as well as an associate degree in digital equipment technology from the Community College of the Air Force.

During his tenure at Wright-Patt, Sloan was part of the groundbreaking ceremony for Hope Hotel, which would later be home to the Balkan Proximity Peace Talks, more commonly known as the Dayton Peace Accords, in 1995.

Other milestones during his time at Wright-Patt: State Route 444A was opened to the public; and construction was completed on the $123.2 million expansion and renovation of Wright-Patterson Medical Center, which made it the second-largest hospital in the Air Force.

The 2750th became host wing for Wright-Patterson AFB in October 1949, exercising command jurisdiction over the base. It frequently supported regional humanitarian missions, including Xenia tornado relief in April 1974. In 1994, the unit was redesignated at the 88th Air Base Wing.

Sloan’s career trajectory, however, went far beyond Ohio. Plattsburgh AFB, New York; Sheppard AFB, Texas; Cannon AFB, New Mexico; Ubon Royal Thai AFB, Thailand; Incirlik Air Base, Turkey; and Andrews AFB, Maryland, were just some of his assignments during a remarkably storied career.

Sloan’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak-leaf clusters, Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze stars and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm ribbon.

In 1965 during the Vietnam War, Sloan was ordered to be a sniper in Thailand as part of “Operation Phoenix.” The CIA-sponsored program was declassified a few years ago.

But that period still haunts Sloan. “I screamed at night sometimes; my wife, Kay, will tell you that,” he said. “I still do.”

After his slide presentation, he answered questions from the audience. One man asked: “What was your favorite moment in the Air Force?”

“In 1961, I married that young lady right there,” Sloan responded, pointing to Kay, who was in the audience.

The couple resides in Riverside, and Sloan attributed his success to her steadfast support as a wife and mother to their son.

“Kay says she served two years,” he added, during a period in Turkey when he was on the road constantly.

After Sloan spoke, Cathy Beers-Conrad, the museum’s public affairs officer, gave him a certificate of recognition. The staff also presented him with a 1956 United States Air Force dictionary as a token of appreciation.

Other military personnel who will be part of the Speaker Series, which starts at 6 p.m. at the museum, include:

  • Oct. 12: Retired Master Sgt. Gary Siembab, Air Force civil engineering. His topic is “My journey.”
  • Nov. 9: Retired Col. Cassie Barlow, former 88 ABW commander at Wright-Patt from 2012 to 2014. “Saluting our grandmothers: Women of WWII” is her topic.
  • Dec. 14: Col. Kim Bowen, currently serving as 88 ABW chaplain, will talk about “Christmas in the military setting.”
  • Jan. 11: Retired Master Sgt. Mark Conrad, who worked as a technical control/combat communications specialist. “Why have a military history museum” is his topic. (Conrad is curator at the museum).

Miami Valley Military History Museum is located at 4 E. Main Street in Fairborn. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday (excluding holidays) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about the nonprofit museum, contact Beers-Conrad at 937-318-8820.