Academy’s command chief gets ready for ‘new adventure’

Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson and Chief Master Sgt. Max Grindstaff hold the Legion Of Merit Medal citation Johnson presented the chief during his retirement ceremony, Oct. 27, 2016, at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Johnson is the Academy's superintendent. Grindstaff was the Academy's command chief. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson and Chief Master Sgt. Max Grindstaff hold the Legion Of Merit Medal citation Johnson presented the chief during his retirement ceremony, Oct. 27, 2016, at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Johnson is the Academy's superintendent. Grindstaff was the Academy's command chief. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Millie Grindstaff straightens the Retirement Pin worn by her husband, Chief Master Sgt. Max Grindstaff, Oct. 27, 2016, at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Grindstaff was given the Pin and awarded the Legion of Merit Medal during his official retirement ceremony in Polaris Hall. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Millie Grindstaff straightens the Retirement Pin worn by her husband, Chief Master Sgt. Max Grindstaff, Oct. 27, 2016, at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Grindstaff was given the Pin and awarded the Legion of Merit Medal during his official retirement ceremony in Polaris Hall. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

Chief Master Sgt. Max Grindstaff, the command chief at the Air Force Academy, capped-off his 30 year Air Force career with a friendly invite to the family and friends attending his retirement ceremony, Oct. 27 in Polaris Hall.

 

“We’ll take some selfies and we’ll eat some cake … Tomorrow is a new adventure,” he said.   

Grindstaff told the crowd he’s ready for “new adventures,” but seemed a bit surprised to be attending his own retirement ceremony.  

 

“I’m just not prepared,” he said.

 

Grindstaff is from Detroit, Michigan. He enlisted in 1986 and during the next 30 years, served as a security forces specialist, a communications specialist, first sergeant, squadron superintendent, and chief at the squadron, group, wing, expeditionary wing and Numbered Air Force levels.

 

“Max was not just locked into one [Air Force] career,” said Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, the superintendent of the Academy. “He served in fascinating times, including the Cold War, and worked his way through history.”

 

Grindstaff thanked Johnson and the school’s staff for their support during his tenure as the Academy’s senior enlisted advisor.

 

“I’ve been blessed to have worked with the best men and women in the world,” he said.

 

 Grindstaff also thanked his family, but reserved his deepest gratitude for his wife, Millie Grindstaff.

 

“I probably would have retired with far fewer stripes on my sleeves had she not been in my life,” he said.

 

Grindstaff summed up his 30-year Air Force career in three words: “What a life.”

 

[Editor’s note: This report will be followed by an in-depth news feature spanning Grindstaff’s career including his time at the Academy and his future plans.]