Chief Master Sergeant Brett L. Cownie is currently the State Command Chief for the State of South Dakota. In this role he is primary advisor to the Assistant Adjutant for Air on all matters relating to the enlisted force that affect readiness, training, health of the force and enlisted professional development.
Prior to selection as Command Chief, he was the Quality Assurance Superintendent for the 114th Maintenance Group, South Dakota Air National Guard, Joe Foss Field, S.D., where he still serves in a technician capacity. Chief Cownie establishes and directs a planned, systematic approach of a quality assurance program designed to provide the maintenance leadership confidence that aircraft, aircraft systems, products or supporting processes conform to technical, safety, work load and customer requirements for the 114th Fighter Wing. In this position he supervises six technician inspectors and five traditional inspectors.
Chief Cownie entered the United States Coast Guard in June 1983. He graduated Electronics "A" school from the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center, Governors Island, New York, in March 1984. He later joined the South Dakota Air National Guard in June 1989 as part of the Avionics Age Shop. In December 1991, Chief Cownie accepted a full time technician position with the South Dakota Air National Guard as an F-16 Avionics Systems Mechanic. In February 2015, after seven years as the Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's Superintendent, he accepted his current position as the 114th Maintenance Group Quality Assurance Superintendent. Throughout his career, Chief Cownie has deployed multiple times to locations in Southwest Asia, as well as many stateside bases supporting contingency operations such as Operation Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Nobel Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, Eager Lion, Freedom Sentinel and Resolute.
1983 Basic Military Training, US Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J
1983 Electronics "A" School, US Coast Guard Training Center, Governors Island, N.Y
1984 Cryptographic Repair School, Naval Training Center, Mare Island, Calif.
1991 F-16 Avionics Field Training Detachment, Joe Foss Field, S.D.
1993 Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, Maxwell AFB, Ala, by correspondence
1996 Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, Maxwell AFB, Ala, by correspondence
1999 F-16 Electro/Environmental Field Training Detachment, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.
2011 Chief Master Sergeant's Executive Course, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
2017 Associate of Applied Science Degree, Aviation Maintenance Technology, Community College of the Air Force
2020 Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education I & II
- June 1983 - August 1983, Trainee, Basic Military Training, USCG Training Center Cape May, N.J.
- August 1983 – March 1984, Trainee, Electronics "A" school, USCG Training Center, Governors Island, N.Y.
- April 1984 – July 1984, Trainee, Crypto Repair School, Naval Training Center, Mare Island, Calif.
- August 1984 – August 1987, Electronics Technician, USCG Communications Station Kodiak, Kodiak, Alaska
- April 1990 – December 1991, Avionics Support Equipment Craftsman, 114th Fighter Wing, Joe Foss Field, S.D.
- December 1991 – October 1995, F-16 Avionics Systems Mechanic, 114th Fighter Wing, Joe Foss Field, S.D.
- October 1995 – September 2005, Aircraft Electrician Supervisor, 114th Fighter Wing, Joe Foss Field, S.D.
- September 2005 – March 2008, Electronics System Supervisor, 114th Fighter Wing, Joe Foss Field, S.D.
- March 2008 – February 2015, AMXS Superintendent, 114th Fighter Wing, Joe Foss Field, S.D.
- February 2015 – October 2019, Quality Assurance Superintendent, 114th Fighter Wing, Joe Foss Field, S.D.
- October 2019 – Present, State Command Chief, Headquarters, South Dakota Air National Guard
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and "C" device
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
AF Outstanding Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters
Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation
Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal with two device
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with two devices
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border
AF Longevity Service
STATE AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
South Dakota Distinguished Service with oak leaf cluster
South Dakota Emergency Operations Ribbon
South Dakota Distinguished Unit Citation with four oak leaf clusters
South Dakota Desert Storm Ribbon
South Dakota Guard Service with two oak leaf clusters
1987 Communications Station Kodiak Coast Guardsman of the Quarter
2003 Outstanding Employee of the Year, South Dakota Air National Guard
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
South Dakota National Guard Enlisted Association Life Member
American Legion Post 174
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Seaman Apprentice, February 4, 1983
Petty Officer Third Class, September 5, 1984
Petty Officer Second Class, July 5, 1985
Staff Sergeant, April 15, 1989
Technical Sergeant, January 1, 1993
Master Sergeant, September 9, 1995
Senior Master Sergeant, July 12, 2003
Chief Master Sergeant, April 4, 2008
(Current as of June 2020)