Chief Master Sergeant (Ret.) Keith Finney enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in November 1981, serving as a heavy equipment operator in the civil engineer career field. He spent his career at many bases, including three separate assignments to Osan Air Base, Korea.
He deployed twice; first to Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, where he served as the noncommissioned officer in charge of the heavy equipment operator shop in 2000. The second was to Balad Air Base, Iraq, in 2007 as the chief enlisted manager of the 337th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron.
The highlight of his career was in 2003 when he was selected as one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. However, he said his fondest memory came in 2002 when he was selected as the Pacific Air Forces Senior NCO of the Year while stationed at Osan. His selection brought him to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, to receive his award and certificate.
“Staying in the dorms that were still full of bullet holes from the attack on Pearl Harbor and then having a private viewing of the USS Arizona really allowed me the time to reflect on the sacrifices made in the past for freedom,” he said. Finney rose to the rank of chief master sergeant in 2003 and retired in 2010 at Kadena AB, Japan, after 29 years of service. He now serves as a military testing proctor at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.