Battle Ground man earns top Air National Guard post

Combat veteran is now its highest-ranking enlisted person

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photoChief Master Sgt. James Hotaling

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Chief Master Sgt. James Hotaling of Battle Ground has been appointed to be the highest-ranking enlisted person in the Air National Guard.

As command chief master sergeant, Hotaling will serve as the senior adviser to Lt. Gen. Sid Clarke, the incoming director of the Air National Guard, on matters concerning the readiness, morale, welfare, proper use and progress of more than 90,000 enlisted airmen.

Hotaling is a combat veteran, having served as an on-the-ground air controller on special operations missions.

He earned a Bronze Star, with a valor decoration, and two oak leaf clusters signifying subsequent Bronze Stars during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in 2002.

His deployments range from Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in the 1990s through Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Hotaling also has participated in humanitarian operations.

Formerly with the Oregon Air National Guard, Hotaling currently is based at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. He is the command chief master sergeant of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, and command chief master sergeant with the 1st Air Force.

Hotaling has spent nearly 24 years in various Air Force special tactics and leadership positions. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1987 and joined the Oregon Air National Guard in 2003.

Hotaling also is a member of the Air Guard's Enlisted Field Advisory Council and the Combat Control Association.

He served as the superintendent and chief master sergeant of the Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron, headquartered at the Portland Air National Guard Base, before accepting the 1st Air Force post.