Helena native Lance Heppner was recently promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 4 in the U.S. Army National Guard. Heppner, in his 29th year of service in the National Guard, was honored in a ceremony in Washington D.C., on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Among those in attendance were his wife Sara, their daughters Shania (8) and Sophia (2), and Major General Matthew Quinn, Adjutant General of the Montana Army National Guard. Also in attendance was Montana U.S. Sen. Steve Daines.
Promotion to CW4 is a significant achievement in the National Guard. Chief Warrant Officers serve as the technical experts within the military and bridge the knowledge gap between commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers.
“I’m very proud to be honored like this,” Heppner, 47, told the Independent Record in a phone interview from the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia. “I anticipated being in Montana my whole career. But it’s really cool that I can remain a part of having an effect on Montana statewide, and its surrounding states.”
Heppner was born in Helena and grew up in Jefferson City. He attended Jefferson High, where he competed in basketball his first two years, and wrestling as a senior, so he “could be in shape for boot camp.”
Following graduation from JHS in 1991, Heppner joined the Guard and left for Basic Training on graduation night. He’s been on tour with the National Guard Bureau since 2013.
“I followed in the footsteps of my two uncles, who were both in aviation, and are both retired now,” he related.
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Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Paul Heppner, served at Malmstrom AFB, while CW4 Jim Heppner (MTARNG) flew helicopters in Vietnam.
The younger Heppner has participated in over 100 military funerals for deceased veterans and soldiers Killed in Action to include the presentation of the American Flag to the next of kin. Lance served as an honor guard under Denny Lenoir – Daines’ director of veteran and military affairs – at Fort Harrison.
Heppner also served a tour of duty in Iraq, from April 2003 to April 2004. “I was with 495th out of Kalispell, Major General Quinn’s unit,” he said. He spent a couple of Annual Trainings in Germany, as well.
Heppner spent most of the first 23 of his 29 years of service in Montana, prior to the last six on tour with Guard’s Bureau. He serves as an Information Systems Technician in the Enterprise Architecture Branch at the National Guard Bureau, where he helps move systems and applications to the cloud.
Heppner is presently serving as a contract officer representative responsible for overseeing an $8 million contract.
Curt Synness can be reached at 594-2878, or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s also on Twitter @curtsynness_IR