Air Force Aid Society officially announced that the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF) Kaleth O. Wright will assume the CEO role effective October 1, 2020. Wright will replace the current CEO, Lt. Gen. John D. Hopper, Jr., USAF (Ret.), who announced his retirement plans early this year. Hopper will remain in the role until October.
“I’m excited about this next chapter following my retirement from the U.S. Air Force. It’s been an invaluable experience to serve alongside so many great airmen over the past 31 years,” said Wright. “I admire Lt. Gen. Hopper and look forward to building upon the success and great things he and his staff have done at the Society to help so many of our Air Force families.”
Wright is the 18th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. This is the highest noncommissioned officer position. He has held this role since February 17, 2017, and is responsible for more than 410,000 enlisted Air Force members. He also serves as the advisor to the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force on issues related to welfare, readiness, morale, and proper utilization of the enlisted force.
Before he was appointed CMSAF, Wright served as the Command Chief Master Sergeant of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces in Africa and was stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Wright enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1989. Since this time, he has deployed in support of operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and completed overseas tours in South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Alaska.
“Our search committee and the board concluded our search this month. We interviewed several candidates who all had exceptional experience and there’s no doubt in my mind would have done a great job,” said the Society’s Board of Trustees President, The Honorable William A. Moorman, Maj. Gen., USAF (Ret.). “However, Chief Wright presented us with outstanding leadership skills and a unique connection with serving airmen.”
Hopper, who assumed the leadership role in 2005 is the longest-serving CEO in the history of the Society, will step down after 15 years leading the organization. Hopper can be credited for directing a record $6.5 million in emergency assistance grants to Air Force families following Hurricane Michael. This was the largest single disaster relief effort for the Society.
He also led the Society through major disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, in which $2.2 million in emergency relief was disbursed to Air Force families. During the 2008 economic downturn, he created an interest-free quick loan offering for airmen to receive immediate assistance, which later evolved into the Falcon Loan. This year, Hopper led the Society to extend support to an additional 15,000 Air National Guard personnel on Title 32 USC 502(f) Full-Time Active Guard Reserve orders. Under his leadership for a fifth consecutive year, the Society recently received the coveted Charity Navigator 4-star award.
Through his tenure at the Society, Hopper has dedicated more than 50 years in service to airmen and their families, which includes serving 35 years in the U.S. Air Force.
The Air Force Aid Society is a 4-star Charity Navigator rated private, nonprofit organization. Founded in 1942, the Air Force Aid Society’s mission is to help relieve the financial distress of Air Force members and their families and assist them in achieving their educational goals, as well as improving their quality of life by providing proactive programs. Since 2008, the Society has provided more than $215 million in direct support to Air Force families. Headquartered in Arlington, Va., the Air Force Aid Society administers assistance through Airman and Family Readiness Centers around the world and maintains cross-servicing agreements with the Army Emergency Relief, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief, the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance and the American Red Cross to offer emergency assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.