Retired Air Force Chief Master Sargent William Calvin Markham is a long time Air Force Special Operations Command quiet professional. CMSgt Markham grew up in Waukesha Wisconsin, and enlisted in the Air Force in June 1986. He began his career in Security Forces before retraining into Combat Control in 1992, where he served in various operational and staff positions within the Air Force Special Tactics enterprise. Chief Markham has an extensive operational background to include advanced skills as a joint terminal attack controller, freefall, static line jump master and combat dive supervisor. He has deployed in support of numerous contingencies and Special Operations missions during Operations RESOLUTE SUPPORT, FREEDOM SENTINEL, ENDURING FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM-PHILIPPINES, JOINT ENDEAVOR, PROVIDE PROMISE and PROVIDE COMFORT.
Notably in 2001, he was the first Airman in Afghanistan as the Combat Controller attached to Operational Detachment Alpha 555, the famed “Triple Nickel.” From 14 October to 30 November, 2001 he directed multiple air strikes involving over 175 aircraft sorties resulting in the destruction of approximately 450 enemy vehicles and the elimination of over 3,500 enemy troops, and leading to the liberation of Kabul and the surrender of hundreds of Al Qaeda and Taliban forces.
CMSGT Markham served as a Command Chief on three separate assignments, first in Europe with the 352nd Special Operations Group, then in Afghanistan at the Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component – Afghanistan / 1st Expeditionary Special Operations Wing, and finally at the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center at Hurlburt Field, Florida. As Command Chief, he advised the Commander on enlisted priorities including training and education of Air Force Special Operations Forces, as well as AFSOC’s Irregular Warfare program, innovation development and operational testing in support of AFSOF throughout the world.
Chief Markham retired from the Air Force in 2016, but continues to support the special operations community in a civilian capacity as the Operations Officer for the Special Operations Warfare Foundation where he works to ensure the children of fallen Special Operations Forces are provided full college scholarships, counseling, tutoring and advocacy support to ensure a bright and solid future.
Chief Markham and Charity, his wife of 10 years, now live in Tampa, Florida. He has one daughter, Shauna.