Isle Guard's top enlisted leader gets national post


POSTED: Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Hawaii National Guard's senior enlisted leader has been picked to be the adviser on enlisted affairs for the nation's 457,000 airmen and soldiers in the Army and Air Guard.

Command Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall will become the first Air Guard member and the first woman to fill the role as senior enlisted leader to the National Guard chief, Gen. Craig McKinley.

Jelinski-Hall, 49, will begin her new duties in February.

“;It's very overwhelming,”; said Jelinski-Hall earlier this week. “;It's a very humbling experience.”;

“;Command Chief Jelinski-Hall is the 'best of the best' in enlisted leadership. She has accomplished many things in her 25-year career, and she will continue to excel at the national level,”; said Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, state adjutant general. “;She has been with me on every single trip I've made to Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and the Philippines, visiting our National Guard troops in the field. She will represent our soldiers and airmen extremely well.”;

;  Jelinski-Hall was born in Little Falls, Minn. She enlisted in the Air Force and reported to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for Air Force basic military training in 1984. Her first assignment was as an air traffic control operator at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., in 1985. She joined the California Air National Guard in 1988.

Two years later she transferred to the Hawaii Air Guard's 297th Air Traffic Control Flight at Barbers Point. In 1998, Jelinski-Hall became a full-time technician with the Hawaii National Guard and became the command chief master sergeant for the 154th Wing at Hickam Air Force Base in 2004.

She later became senior enlisted leader for the Hawaii Guard in 2006, advising Lee on the enlisted needs of Hawaii's 5,000 citizen-soldiers and airmen.

At a conference this week, she said the economy and heath care are the subjects of most interest to Hawaii National Guard soldiers and airmen and their families.

Although Hawaii's soldiers and airmen are guaranteed to retain their positions when they return from their deployments, Jelinski-Hall told reporters that “;their employers might not be there when they get back because of the economy.”;

“;This was a very tough decision, because of all the very well-qualified candidates who applied for this position,”; McKinley said in a written statement. “;Chief Jelinski-Hall will be a welcome addition to my staff.”;