Retired Nov. 1, 1999.
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Eric W. Benken is adviser to the secretary and chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force on matters concerning welfare, effective utilization and progress of the enlisted members of the Air Force. He is the 12th chief master sergeant appointed to this ultimate noncommissioned officer position.
Chief Benken was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and entered the Air Force in March 1970. His background is in information management and he has served in operational, maintenance and support units at every level of command from squadron through major air command. He has served in Taiwan, Korea and South Vietnam, and in a joint service/NATO assignment at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. Before assuming his current position, he served as the senior enlisted adviser with the United States Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. While at USAFE, the command was involved in operations such as Provide Promise, Provide Comfort, Deliberate Force and Joint Endeavor in Bosnia.
1977 Tactical Air Command Noncommissioned Officer Leadership School, Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas
1986 Tactical Air Command Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
1989 USAF Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Gunter AFB, Ala.
1994 Associate degree in applied science, information management, Community College of the Air Force
1. March 1970 - April 1970, basic trainee, basic military training, Lackland AFB, Texas
2. May 1970 - December 1970, administrative specialist, 2578th Supply Squadron, Ellington AFB, Texas
3. January 1971 - March 1972, administrative specialist, maintenance training section and maintenance quality control, 374th Tactical Airlift Wing, Ching Chuan Kang Air Base, Taiwan. Also assigned temporarily to Detachment 1, 834th Air Division, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam
4. April 1972 - September 1978, chief clerk, 67th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron and noncommissioned officer in charge, Director of Operations Administration, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Bergstrom AFB, Texas
5. October 1978 - October 1979, executive noncommissioned officer to the commander, 314th Air Division, Osan Air Base, Korea
6. November 1979 - August 1983, NCOIC, Deputy Commander for Resources Administration and NCOIC, 12th Air Force Command Section, Bergstrom AFB, Texas
7. September 1983 - December 1988, Chief, Administration Communications Division and NCOIC, Deputy Chief of Staff for Aircrew Training Devices Administration, USAF Tactical Air Warfare Center, Eglin AFB, Fla.
8. January 1989 - July 1993, Superintendent, Manpower and Document Control Division, Office of the U. S. National Military Representative, and administrative officer, Assistant Chief of Staff Operations and Logistics Division, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Mons, Belgium
9. August 1993 - September 1994, Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Commander, 12th Air Force, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
10. October 1994 - October 1996, Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Commander, U. S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
11. November 1996 - July 1999, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Vietnam Service Medal with campaign star
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Nov 5, 1996