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After 38 years of exceptional service, the Wyoming Army National Guard bid farewell to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Doug Drost in a ceremony held at the Joint Forces Readiness Center on Nov. 29, 2023. The event, emceed by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Shane Mickelson, highlighted Drost’s remarkable achievements and contributions to the state, nation, and fellow Soldiers.
Drost’s career has been almost entirely in aviation units in the Wyoming Guard. He joined the military in April 1985, beginning his aviation career after basic combat training as a warrant officer at Fort Rucker, Alabama. After graduating in July of 1986 from warrant officer flight training, he served briefly in the Army Reserves in Utah. He transferred to the Wyoming Guard in December of 1986. Over the years, Drost accumulated an impressive 4,900 flight hours, with 315 hours conducted in imminent danger combat.
His aviation journey included serving in various units, completing specialized courses, and demonstrating exceptional skills as an instructor pilot, standardization pilot, and instrument examiner. Drost played a crucial role during Operation Desert Storm, Operation Noble Eagle, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, showcasing his professionalism and dedication. When not mobilized or deployed, Drost was integral to the Wyoming Guard’s aviation state missions. Over the years, he participated in numerous search and rescue missions, training events, aerial firefighting missions, and support to law enforcement agencies.
In 2008, Drost was promoted to chief warrant officer 5. In November 2019, he was appointed the fourth Wyoming Army National Command Chief Warrant Officer. His impact on the Wyoming Army National Guard aviators and the aviation program is immeasurable.
Alongside numerous awards during the ceremony, Drost was presented with the prestigious Order of St. Michael Silver Award. This award recognizes individuals who have significantly contributed to promoting Army aviation with the highest standards of integrity, professional competence, and distinction in service.
The Order of St. Michael draws inspiration from the archangel St. Michael, symbolizing courage, justice, and gallantry — qualities Drost embodied throughout his career.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Derek Fisbeck, a colleague and friend, shared anecdotes about Drost’s caring nature and dedication to his team. He emphasized Drost’s impact on his career, from their time together when Fisbeck was an enlisted Soldier to Fisbeck’s transition to a pilot.
“When I was an enlisted Soldier, we spent a lot of time together. I started as crew chief, and he was a pilot. One thing that stuck with me is that he truly cared about people. I learned a lot as an aviator flying with him,” Fisbeck says. “I truly appreciate everything you did for me and my career and the rest of the Soldiers in the Army Guard.”
The ceremony also featured a moving speech by Drost himself, expressing gratitude to his family, colleagues, and fellow veterans.
“It’s been crazy. I remember when I first got in, and I remember I was going to give up around the 12-year mark. Now it’s 38 years, and I’m retiring. It’s amazing,” Drost said. “All of you that have a little bit longer to go, or a lot, just keep grinding. Take care of each other; take care of the Soldiers. Look out for them. Thank you.”
As Chief Warrant Officer 5 Doug Drost enters retirement, his legacy remains embedded in the Wyoming Army National Guard. The ceremony showcased the respect and admiration he garnered from peers and subordinates, celebrating a distinguished career marked by unwavering commitment, leadership, and service to the nation.