Retired West Virginia Guard Chief Master Sgt. and Vietnam Veteran, dead at 76

  • Published
  • By SMSgt Eugene Crist
  • 130th Airlift Wing

CMSgt. Robert D. Dan” Chandler, a retired West Virginia Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. and the first Command Chief Master Sgt. appointed to the 130th Airlift Wing, died Tuesday, January 4th. He was 76.


Chief Chandler enlisted in the Air Force on March 9th, 1966. He became a Combat ready C-130E Aircraft Loadmaster and began his flying career at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. In February 1969, he was assigned to the 774th Tactual Airlift Squadron, Clark Air Base, Philippines, and began flying missions in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 1970 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals.


Chief Chandler joined the West Virginia Air National Guard in September 1971. He became an Aircraft Loadmaster on C-119 cargo planes. He became a full-time employee of the West Virginia Air National Guard as a C-130 aircraft Loadmaster in June 1975. He was assigned to the 130th Tactical Airlift Squadron. In August 1996, he became the first Command Chief Master Sergeant appointed in the 130 Airlift Wing, where he served until September 30th, 2000.


Chief Chandler was the ninth Command Chief Master Sergeant for West Virginia National Guard. He was the chief enlisted advisor to the Adjutant General, Commanders, and senior staff members on matters concerning the health, welfare, morale, education, recruitment, combat readiness, and utilization of more than 1,900 enlisted personnel. Chief Chandler served as State Command Chief from February 1st, 2001, to September 18th, 2005.


A Veteran of the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the War in Bosnia, Chief Chandler has flown to all 50 states and 77 foreign countries. He was selected as the Outstanding Airman of the Year for West Virginia in 1986 and again in 1991. Chief Chandler was presented the Distinguished West Virginian Award by Governor Gaston Caperton in 1996.


Chief Chandler accrued over 11,140 hours of flying time during his flying career. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals while serving in the Vietnam War, and one Air Medal for service in the Persian Gulf War.

B-Roll of a video interview with Ret. CMSgt. Chandler can be found at: