Chief Master Sgt. Jerry F. Gardner Jr. is the ninth Florida State Command Chief Master Sergeant and is assigned to Headquarters, Florida Air National Guard in St. Augustine, Fla. He serves as the personal adviser to the Florida Air National Guard Commander on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, and proper utilization and progress of the enlisted force. He represents the highest level of enlisted leadership for the Florida Air National Guard. Chief Gardner is responsible for the direction of the enlisted force and represents their interests at the state and national level.
Gardner graduated from Dothan High School in May 1988. Upon graduation, he entered the Alabama Air National Guard in January 1989. He graduated the Basic Aerospace Control and Warning Systems Operator course in May 1989. During his six year tour with the 115th Tactical Air Control Squadron (TAC), he deployed twice to Norway to support NATO-level exercises and volunteered for numerous drug interdiction missions. Gardner entered the active duty Army in 1995 and was assigned to Kitzingen, Germany, as a Network Switching Systems Operator Site Chief. His team was deployed in support of NATO Mission OPERATION JOINT ENDEAVOR.
Gardner joined the Florida Air National Guard in July 2001 as a Command and Control Surveillance Tracking Technician. After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he was activated in support of Operation Noble Eagle for two years. He later crossed trained into the Communications-Computer Systems Operations career field and served six years as the 101st Air and Space Operations Group, Mission Support Division, Drill Status Guardsman (DSG) Superintendent. In 2011, Chief Gardner was selected as the DSG Superintendent, Command and Control Battle Management Operations, 101st Air and Space Operations Group where he served until his selection as Florida State Command Chief Master Sergeant.
He assumed his position as Florida Air National Guard State Command Chief Master Sergeant on Oct. 31, 2014.
His awards include: the Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Air Force Achievement Medal; Army Achievement Medal with 3 Devices; AF Outstanding Unit Award with 2 Devices; AF Organizational Excellence Award with 1 Device; Combat Readiness Medal; Good Conduct Medal with 1 Device; Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Devices; National Defense Service Medal with 1 Device; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and Florida Commendation Medal.