News: Around our Diverse Asia-Pacific Region

Chief Master Sgt. Riel retires after 33 years in U.S. Air Force

Published Feb. 21, 2012
Seoul – Chief Master Sgt. Raymond Riel, Lead Construction Representative, has completed his service in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District. He will be retiring from the U.S. Air Force in May.

Riel arrived in November 2009 and was the first U.S. Air Force enlisted person to serve in FED. During that time he has been responsible for overseeing about $460 million worth of projects for land development and utility systems on U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys and in the acquired land.

“Thanks to everyone in the Far East District for giving me the opportunity to come out and help with this enormous undertaking happening here at Humphreys. It’s been a real challenge considering all the changes that have taken place with the Master Plan,” said Riel. “My hat’s off to all of you that are here taking on this feat.  I’d love to come back some day just to see the final product. I am sure it will be a site to see.”

Additionally, Riel has participated in four U.S. Forces Korea level exercises during his tour.  They included Key Resolve 2010 and 2011 and Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2010 and 2011.

He conducted a pavement analysis on sections of the Daegu Air Base runway as well as helped research and design a life support area (LSA) using the installation’s available land, existing facilities, and war reserve material. For the 8th U.S. Army and 2nd Infantry Division he led a recon element of an eight km. grid area surrounding Camp Stanley to identify and record tactical assembly areas in the Uijongbu area. He also performed a site assessment of the rail facilities at the Eundari Railhead to establish a northern railhead that will allow for offloading and staging of armor companies.

Riel has worked hard for FED but he also took the opportunity to enjoy rest and relaxation with his wife whenever he could.

“Outside of work, my wife Kim and I have had the pleasure of seeing and experiencing many of the things Korea has to offer as far as cultural sites and a variety of annual events,” said Riel. “Along with the many tours we did in Korea during her visits, we were able to see China and Thailand as well.”

Riel attended the U.S. Army Ball in 2010 and 2011 and was awarded the Army Engineer Regiment’s Bronze de Fleury Medal in 2011. In July 2011 he was awarded the Army Superior Unit Award along with other members of FED.

Riel will officially retire from the Air Force in May. Then he plans on starting his own business which he will call “Chief Services” in Flathead Valley, Mont.

“It will include home repairs, small remodeling projects, caretaker services, residential and commercial snow plowing, lawn and landscaping services, tree trimming and removal, boat portage, cleaning services, and delivery and transportation services,” said Riel. “As the company grows I intend to hire as many veterans as I can.”

Riel enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in April 1979 as an engineering equipment operator. Over the past 33 years he has had numerous assignments and occupations. He has worked in the United Kingdom and in Turkey. He has worked on projects to improve quality of life on Indian reservations in New Mexico, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Montana. He has also assisted with a community center project in Hawaii.

To conclude his impressive career Riel worked on USACE’s largest current project—transformation of USAG Humphreys.

“Kim and I are especially grateful for the hospitality the Humphreys Area Office team has given us,” said Riel. “Both of us have made many longtime friendships during our stay here. Many were started with the HAO night outs, the Air Force, Engineer, and Army Balls, the many brutal softball games playing with the ‘Block Builders,’ and the numerous golf outings I took part in on the weekends. All of these experiences will never be forgotten.”

Patrick Bray

Release no. 12-009