111th Security Forces Manager promotes to Chief

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Wilfredo Acosta
  • 111th Attack Wing

When the 111th Attack Wing’s newest chief master sergeant found out he was being promoted in a ceremony hosted at Biddle Air National Guard Base in Horsham, Pennsylvania, March 5, 2022, he was filled with a combination of emotions.

But most of all, Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Gabor, Senior Enlisted Leader for the 111th Security Forces Squadron, who currently serves as the Wing’s Security Forces Manager, said he felt humility and gratitude.

“Being selected for Chief is very humbling,” said Gabor, a native of Telford, Pennsylvania with more than 24 years of military service. “You have to work very hard to get to the pinnacle of the enlisted force, and a lot of things have to go right. In my career, everything has. I couldn’t be any luckier than I am today.”

Roman philosopher Seneca was quoted as saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” And while many agree fortune plays a large role in career success, they also know there is no substitute for hard work.

With the majority of his active-duty service spent in security forces, Gabor has not only prepared for this opportunity, he’s also earned the respect of a former leader and fellow defender.

“I look forward to seeing him serve as Security Forces Chief,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Ferguson, 111th Attack Wing Chief Master Sergeant. “Chief Gabor is a hardworking professional who has dedicated himself to being technically and tactically proficient at his job, and more importantly, dedicated himself to taking care of his people.”

That praise comes with some weight as Feguson is a fellow defender, who previously served as Security Forces manager himself before assuming his current role as the senior enlisted leader for the 111th ATKW.

According to Gabor, the respect is mutual.

Gabor said he was fortunate to have great mentors and credited his success to his former commanders and senior enlisted leaders. These included Ferguson as well as Col. Christine Munch, 111th ATKW Mission Support Group Commander, Chief Master Sgt. Paul Frisco, Pennsylvania Air National Guard State Command Chief, and retired 111th Security Forces Commanders, Lt. Col. Joeseph Mezzatesta and Lt. Col. James Williams.

As for the current SFS Commander, Lt. Col. Alex Van Zant, he joked about what the two had in common while speaking at Gabor’s promotion ceremony.

When we first talked, I thought he had done his research on me because he was talking about my hobbies, which include Florida, and Star Wars. But then I walked into his office and realized it was not an act, said Van Zant.

No doubt Gabor’s ability to relate to people has played a role in his success. However, Gabor never joined with the intention of becoming a chief.

“It’s funny, when you are a young 19-year-old and look at a chief, you have this image that they are 100-years-old and been in the military since WWI,” said Gabor. “For me, I never imagined myself being in that long. Now, I guess the young Airmen look at me, a guy who has been in since first Desert Storm, as ancient.”

Perhaps luck has played a role in Gabor’s longevity. It’s rare to find a career you love, much less the love of your life after enlisting in the Air Force. Gabor was lucky enough to land both.

“I joined the military to serve my country and get into law enforcement,” said Gabor, who in addition to finding his calling, found the love of his life after enlisting. “My wife, Maria, has been with me since we met at my first duty station, Clark Air Base, Philippines, back in 1990. She has always been there and loves the military.”

So, what advice does Gabor have for junior enlisted Airmen currently serving?

“Never give up,” said Gabor. “You can achieve anything. Follow the Air Force Core Values to a tee. Doing the right thing is key. Sometimes, you may not be the most popular. But in the end, it’s right, and your people will understand and learn from it.”