Retiring airman played key role on 9/11

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LATHAM — Forty-one years after enlisting in the Air Force, Rome resident and New York Air National Guard Chief Master Sergeant Maureen Dooley is hanging up her uniform.

Dooley was recognized for eight years of service in the Active Air Force and 25 years in the New York Air National Guard during a formal retirement ceremony on Friday at New York National Guard headquarters in Latham.

Dooley’s most recent assignment was Command Chief Master Sergeant for the 5,600-member New York Air National Guard. She was the senior enlisted Airman in the force, reporting directly to Air Force Major General Timothy LaBarge, the commander of the New York Air National Guard, as his advisor on enlisted issues.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Dawn Deskins, the deputy director of the Air National Guard, acted as the presiding officer for the retirement ceremony.

Deskins was formerly the commander of the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome where Dooley served from 1995 to 2018. EADS is responsible for the air defense of the United States west of the Mississippi.

She praised Dooley’s professionalism, “energy, and commitment to the mission.” On Sept. 11, 2001, for example, Dooley was the enlisted airman responsible for identifying hostile aircraft flying over the nation.

Throughout her career, Dooley has left a mark with many people, Deskins said. “If we did not have COVID, this room would be filled to the rafters with people who wanted to be here,” Deskins said.

In her remarks, Dooley thanked her family and friends for their support during her career, as well as those she served with. “There is not a better profession than the profession of arms and not a greater group of people I would like to face those challenges with,” she said.

“When you are doing a job that you love so much and you are doing it with your heart and soul, it is not a job,” she said.

During the ceremony she was presented with the Legion of Merit in recognition of her years of service, as well as gifts from those she served with.

The New York Air National Guard is located at five bases across New York and operates the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport, the LC-130 ski-equipped Hercules transport, and the HH-60 search and rescue helicopter and the HC-130 search and rescue aircraft as well as EADS.

Dooley is a native of Danielson, Connecticut. After joining the Air Force in 1979 she served as an aircraft maintenance specialist on the F-4E and then the F-15 fighter and the T-33 training aircraft before leaving the active Air Force.

In 1994, Dooley enlisted in the New York Air National Guard and joined what was then the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS), part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and is responsible for identifying and tracking aircraft flying over the United States and Canada. The unit directs fighters to defend North American airspace.

Dooley worked in tracking and identification positions and also served in weapons director, air surveillance, mission crew controller and non-commissioned officer positions at NEADS, now known as EADS.

She served as Flight Superintendent and Operations Superintendent before becoming the Chief Enlisted Manager of the 224th Support Squadron in 2014. She served as the senior enlisted leader at the 224th Air Defense Group from 2016 until January 2018.

Dooley is a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force Senior NCO Academy and holds a degree in Space Technology from the Community College of Air Force.

Her awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, the Combat Readiness Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

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