Chief Master Sergeant Michael F. Sears is the 177th Fighter Wing Command Chief, New Jersey Air National Guard. Chief Sears is the key enlisted advisor within the 177FW. His charge is to ensure the commander’s direction is met through operational effectiveness, readiness, and training. He ensures his Airmen understand and are dedicated to the mission of the Wing.
Chief Sears’ military service began in 1994. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and attended basic training in Paris Island, SC. He subsequently was assigned to the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, Camp Pendleton, CA where he served as an antitank, demolitions expert assault role. In 1996, he was reassigned to the Marines Tactical Recovery of Aircraft Personnel (TRAP) team. While serving with the Marines he deployed on multiple occasions in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and INFINITE MOONLIGHT. Honorably discharging from the Marine Corps, Chief Sears joined the 177th Fighter Wing in December of 2002. He enlisted as a Senior Airmen and trained as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician. During this time, he served honorably on multiple combat tours as an
EOD operator in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. He demonstrated notable courage and valor by saving the life of a wounded coalition soldier while risking his own under heavy enemy fire. During these combat tours, Chief Sears and his team where highly decorated for the support they provided to their coalition counterparts. His teams defused over fifty Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and led over 150 combat missions. In 2013 Chief Sears was selected as the EOD Superintendent and, in 2018, became the Operations Group Superintendent, prior to assuming the duties of Command Chief for the 177th Fighter Wing.
In his civilian capacity, Chief Sears served as an explosive specialist for the Transportation Security Administration for more than 10 years. During this time, he worked closely with the Joint Terrorist Task Force (JTTF) and the city of Pittsburgh as an advisor on weapons of mass destruction as well as emergency planning in the event of a terrorist act. For the past three years, he has served as the Security and Safety Manager with Federal Aviation Administration. He oversees the Operations, Security and Safety of over 5000 acres, 250 buildings and more than 3500 employees located at the William J. Hughes Technical Center, Atlantic City NJ.
2004 Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Naval School EOD, Fla.
2006 Airman Leadership School, Air University, Maxwell-Gunter AFB, Ala.
2006 Associate, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Community College of the Air Force, Maxwell-Gunter AFB, Ala.
2007 Bachelor of Science in Business Management, DeVry University, Downers Grove, Ill.
2007 Advanced EOD Management and Technology, Naval School EOD, Fla.
2008 On-Scene Incident Commanders, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Wash., District of Columbia 2013 Noncommissioned Officer Academy, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn.
2013 Post Blast Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy, Arlington, Va.
2014 Command and Control, Air Force Emergency Response Operations, 177 Fighter Wing, N.J.
2015 USAF Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Maxwell-Gunter, Ala.
2016 Professional Leadership Development, FAA Leadership & Learning Institute (FLLI), D.C.
2019 ANG CMSGT Orientation Course (CMSOC), Joint Base Andrews, MD
1. June 1994 – August 1994, Trainee, Marine Corp Basic Training, Paris Island, S.C.
2. September 1994 – November 1994, Infantryman, School of Infantry, Camp Gieger, N.C.
3. November 1994 – June 1998, Ant-Tank Assault Dragon Gunner, Camp Pendleton, C.A.
4. December 2002 – April 2013, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Operator, 177th Fighter Wing, N.J.
5. April 2013 – January 2018, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Superintendent, 177th Fighter Wing, N.J.
6. January 2018 – October 2021, Operations Group Superintendent, 177th Fighter Wing, N.J.
7. October 2021 – Present, Command Chief, 177th Fighter Wing, N.J.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal Combat Action Ribbon
Air Force Combat Action Medal
STATE AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
New Jersey State Service Ribbon
New Jersey Unit Strength Award Ribbon
2008 Military Officers Association of America Outstanding Junior Officer
2008 USO George Van Cleave Leadership Award
2008 NJ ANG CMSGT Richard W. Spencer Outstanding Award
2008 NCO (AIR) of the Year award
2008 Non-Commissioned Officer and Enlisted Man of the Year Award
2009 177th ANG Enlisted Airman of the Year
2011 New Jersey Air National Guard Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year
2012 NJ ANG CMSGT Richard W. Spencer Outstanding Award
2013 177th ANG Enlisted Airman of the Year
2015 Warrior for the Portraits of Courage: A Commander-in-Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Air Force Association
Air Force Sergeant Association
Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US
It’s About the Warrior Foundation
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Private – USMC August. 21, 1994
Private First Class – USMC Feb. 10, 1995
Lance Corporal – USMC Mar. 1, 1996
Sergeant – USMC May 31, 1998
Senior Airman Dec. 19, 2002
Staff Sergeant Jan. 20, 2007
Technical Sergeant Feb. 07, 2009
Master Sergeant May 16, 2013
Senior Master Sergeant Sept. 10, 2015
Chief Master Sergeant Nov. 17, 2017
(Current as of Oct. 2021)