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Meet the Chief – Seventh Air Force command chief tell-all

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Rachelle Blake
  • Seventh Air Force Public Affairs

Son of an Army Vietnam veteran and the hardest working woman in Memphis, this art history-loving, car-tinkering, non-stop ball dribbling, Easter Sunday miracle middle child has come a long way from the home of blues and the world’s best barbeque.

Chief Master Sgt. Alvin R. Dyer, Seventh Air Force command chief, gave his parents somewhat of a scare on an Easter Sunday. The Cleveland, Ohio, streets were lined with a fresh layer of snow, and the young couple struggled to find transportation to the hospital.

“There was a potential for major complications, but they made it to the hospital right on time,” Dyer said.

Dyer’s father was drafted as an Army combat engineer. He served his required tour, returned to Memphis, Tennessee, scooped up his neighborhood sweetheart, and the pair relocated to Cleveland following a family’s lead on a job opening.

Things didn’t pan out and the family returned to Memphis when Dyer was five.

“Memphis is the dynamic city of the South,” he said. “It is considered the home of blues and the BBQ capital of the world. We stamp our name on that and if you have a dispute with either one of those, come see me.”

It is also where Dyer discovered his passion for basketball. His mom said he never put the ball down.

“It was a neighborhood thing,” he said. “I probably picked up a ball when I was seven, and in my neighborhood that was a late start.”

To this day, he credits the game with how he relieves stress and finds balance within himself. He also considers himself an artist and a connoisseur of its history.

“I love history because I love to learn what was, what is and what will be,” he said.

His parents nurtured his appetite for growth, and he thanks them for the man he is today. Although separated, they only lived a few blocks apart and remained close friends.

“My mom taught me the importance of hard work and my dad taught me about unconditional love – the value of a hug, a handshake and eye contact,” he said.

When it came time for Dyer to leave the nest, he recognizes his older brother’s example for his decision to serve.

“My brother joined two years ahead of me and I remember hearing his war stories and I started thinking that sounded interesting,” Dyer said. “It planted the seed.”

Growing up working on cars with his dad, he knew he would be good working with his hands and chose a job in civil engineering as a Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) troop. Dyer graduated high school on a Friday and left for basic training the following Wednesday.

Trained in a job that had great potential in the civilian sector, he had no intention of staying past his four-year contract. Then, he found himself deployed to Eskan Village, Saudi Arabia, where he started to see the bigger picture.

“It showed me my purpose,” Dyer said. “It reminded me why I raised my right hand. There were bad people that wanted to do bad things to us and my mission was to protect the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. I came back 100 percent committed.”

Now, decades later, he hopes he can help Airmen have that same “aha” moment and find themselves surrounded in unexpected success.

“Learn yourself – what type of person are you, what type of leader can you be?” Dyer said. “Be true to who you are and be patient. Experience matters, so be good at what you are doing. Focus on being a servant leader. No matter how far you move, you are always going to serve someone. Ultimately, find your purpose and help others find theirs.”

As the Seventh Air Force command chief, his main goal is to do whatever it takes to ensure his Airmen are ready.

“I want to make sure that I give all of the people under our purview the tools they need to be ready to fight tonight,” Dyer said. “I want to give them what they need so when we do have to go fight, they trust me to get them there and get them what they need, and trust that I will get them back.”

This is Dyer’s third tour to Korea and each time he said he has been powered by the love and strength of his wife, Tanquer, his son, Cristian, and his daughter, Cassidy.

“My wife helps me keep the balance between my family and the flag,” he said.

His extended family back home is rooting for him as well.

Dyer’s beloved father passed away two years ago. His dad hadn’t spoken fondly of his own time in the service, but he was relieved to see so much change.

“My dad told me, ‘It is not the same service I was in and it is so gratifying to see that we have moved along so far, and that I can see somebody that I wanted to see in your position and that person happens to be my son,’” Dyer said “It was satisfying to know my dad turned the corner on some things, but it was disheartening that he couldn’t have had that same experience when he was in.”

Seeing diversity being amplified, is a source of pride for Dyer.

“We are at a pivotal point in our military right now where we need to push the boundaries,” he said. “We need to push the envelope. We can keep our customs, our courtesies, our traditions and all that, but we need to open our aperture of understanding. The uniform does not define you, it enhances you.”

And when it is time for Dyer to hang up that uniform, he isn’t set on any particular location, but he does have a couple requests.

“I want to be able to tinker in the garage, have my own basketball hoop, and invite my friends and family over,” he concluded.