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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Greenwood resident named Chief of 188th Fighter Wing Security Forces

Friends influence us in many ways. For one chief, his friend’s suggestion led him on a lifelong journey in the Air National Guard.

Chief Master Sgt. Frank P. Koeth, joined the military in 1998 after his friend, SMSgt. Tim J. Holland, currently the 188th Security Forces Squadrons operations superintendent, told him there were security forces combat arms instructor positions open.

“We both worked at Sears,” recalled Koeth, who is now the 188th SFS senior enlisted leader. “He told me I’d get to shoot a lot and that sold me. Come to find out, I got to watch other people shoot a lot, but it was still the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Koeth decided to join the Air National Guard instead of active-duty or the Reserve because he liked the idea being able to serve while still starting and raising a family in one place.

“This was before 9/11, so things were dramatically different,” said Koeth. “The good news is, I wound up with the best of both worlds when I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Active-Guard Reserve (AGR) program in 2000. At that point, I truly had the best that active duty and the Guard had to offer: great pay and benefits while serving my country right here at home.”

Throughout his career, Koeth stayed in security forces. For him, security forces is the epitome of service. Koeth felt security forces personnel were a tight-knit group of professionals who embraced the hardships they endured and the increased responsibilities. “Day in and day out, we serve to protect everyone else as they do their jobs,” said Koeth. “It’s like being a part of winning team; that winning team works harder than everyone else and endures more pain and sacrifice than anyone else and their shared experience builds strength and bonds you just don’t get anywhere else. The question is: why anything BUT security forces?”

While some people choose to separate from service after their initial commitment, Koeth wanted to stay because of the people and his experiences

. “Honestly, getting out was never really an option for me. I just knew this was my career,” said Koeth. “I wanted to be a part of something bigger than me, and I wanted my wife and daughters to be able to proudly tell people their husband and father served. Once I passed my 20-year mark, it just seemed like I always had more to give, so here I am today.”

“It’s a sum of all the experiences,” Koeth continued. “From deployments, TDY’s, exercises, inspections, mission conversions…there were leaders and fellow Defenders who were leading and mentoring me every step of the way. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some of the best mentors a troop can have.”

Koeth considers being promoted as a recognition of the trust in his ability to handle the responsibility that comes with being a chief.

“I am greatly humbled,” said Koeth about his promotion. “It’s challenged me to be better and see things from a different perspective. It makes me want to be better for the people who are counting on me.”

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

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