An Atlantic City native is now in charge of all the airmen in the New Jersey Air National Guard.

Atlantic City resident Vincent Morton was appointed to the position of New Jersey Air National Guard State Command Chief on June 1 and began serving his three year appointment full time on July 1, according to Donna Clementoni, director of employer outreach for the guard.

Under his position Morton will oversee all the roughly 2,300 airmen in the guard. He and the command chief of the New Jersey Army National Guard will report directly to Gen. Michael L. Cunniff, the adjutant general, who is appointed by the governor and oversees the entire guard.

Morton’s responsibilities will also include professional military education, enlisted promotions, mentoring, morale, family and community relations.

In a statement, Morton said he hopes his appointment shows the guardsmen that “anyone can get here with hard work, dedication, integrity and being fair to people.”

The husband and father of two sons joined the U.S. Air Force in 1979 at the age of 17, and became a member of the New Jersey Air National Guard In 1989. He has been an employee of the state Department of Corrections for 22 years. He is currently a lieutenant with the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in Yardville but took a leave from that job so he could fill this role full-time, Clementoni said.

Currently stationed at the McGuire Air Force Base, Morton has served extensive tours overseas including Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to work on security matters.

His most notable incident occurred while serving a tour in 2010 at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Morton served as the group superintendent for the 455th Mission Support Group.

As part of the tour during police week in May, Morton, along with Pleasantville native 1st Sgt. Chris Taggart of the 177th Fighter Wing, walked the 15-mile perimeter of the base to show the other soldiers it was safe.

On May 19, 2010, the base was attacked by insurgents. The attack included suicide bombers, small arms fire, mortar fire and rocket attacks. But the security was not breached. Ultimately the casualties included 20 insurgents and one American contractor.

Morton received the Bronze Star for his work.

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