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Eric W. Benken

Date of birth: 20-Aug-51
Place of Birth: Ohio, Cincinnati
Home of record: Cincinnati Ohio

Eric Benken served as the 12th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force from November 5, 1996, until his retirement from the Air Force on November 1, 1999.


Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

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Awarded for actions during the Peace Time Awards

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal to Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Eric W. Benken, United States Air Force, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in a position of great responsibility to the Government of the United States. Chief Benken distinguished himself as Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Office of the Chief of Staff, Headquarters United States Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia, from 6 November 1996 to 31 October 1999. His unparalleled leadership and tremendous concern for the enlisted men and women of the United States Air Force led to numerous positive initiatives that will have enduring impact. He joined the Chief of Staff in providing impassioned and persuasive testimonies before Congressional committees that were instrumental in increasing military compensation and quality of life initiatives, to include military pay raises, pay table reform, and a proposal to repeal the 1986 Redux Retirement System. He strongly battled opposition to gender-integrated training through congressional testimony and constant media input, insisting that Air Force women should have the same opportunity to train for military service as their male counterparts, thus preserving twenty-three years of progress. Chief Benken placed a strong focus on the professional development of the enlisted force resulting in the implementation of professional development seminars across the entire Air Force. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Chief Benken culminate a distinguished career in the service of his country and reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Action Date: November 6, 1996 - October 31, 1999

Service: Air Force

Rank: Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force