March Air Reserve Base, Calif. --
I have served in the Air Force for more than 25 years, and have developed into the leader I am today because of the Airmen, mentors, supervisors, and officers with whom I have served. Throughout my career, I have come to abide by a set of rules that have helped me, and continue to guide me, throughout this tremendous adventure. These are my five lines of effort, in descending order, toward a successful military career.
5 - Stop the noise - Throughout life, in our professional, civilian and/or military careers we will be faced with many challenges, criticisms, etc. Maybe we are not world class athletes, but we are world class Americans. Equally as important, we have to understand that part of stopping the noise is ignoring the noise, even more so, not creating any noise. By virtue of our position, rank, affiliation, and as leaders, we are required to be factual, exercise maturity and good judgement (avoiding gossip) as we communicate. I encourage you to use the following triple filter test to assist you with this rule. If what you are going to say is not useful, not good, or not true, then don’t say it.
4 - Exaggerate professionalism – Customs and courtesies/drill and ceremony play an important role in demonstrating professionalism. As you know, simple things like saying thank you, please, excuse me, yes sir/ma’am go a long way. To this day, when anyone comes into my office I stand and give them my full attention, regardless if they are enlisted or officer.
As I stop and think about our mission at March Air Reserve Base, which is to launch our two weapon systems, the KC-135 and the C-17 in support of global reach and global power, I am reminded the importance of professionalism. It is imperative that we are committed to developing ourselves, each other, and our Airmen with a professional mindset. That mindset must include a strong understanding of the profession-of-arms, in an effort to promote and enhance effectiveness and trust, to foster relationships that strengthen a culture of dignity and respect that will propel us to succeed today and well into the future. As Airmen in the greatest air and space power in the world, we have an obligation to epitomize/to exceed the standards/expectations levied upon us and serve as a role model for others to emulate.
3 - Do your full duty – We are expected to execute the mission, lead people, develop our subordinates and manage our resources; manpower, funds, equipment, and time. All that is in addition to abiding by and enforcing policies, instructions, rules and regulations. That means that you have to be on your “A” game all day, every day, just like your supervisors, first sergeants, chiefs, and commanders demonstrate to all of you every day. I am going to hold you to it; all enlisted are going to hold you to it. We don’t expect perfection. We expect you to make decisions that are in the best interest of good order, discipline and the successful accomplishment of the mission. Just know this, you will not be at it alone. I will always have your back!
2 - Win the future, win the fight - I think it is fair to say, that no one is going to take care of you, better than you. We must always develop a sustained passion and ambition for continuous improvement. It starts with winning in our attitude, in our effort, our preparation, and our work ethic. Don’t put off tasks like education, fitness, and professional development for a later time. It won’t be easier tomorrow. As a military professional, it is imperative that we take advantage of every opportunity to gain experience, knowledge, and to improve readiness at all levels, so that we are prepared and ready when called upon to display our expertise. Winning the future also means that we must be equally invested in the advancement of our team, our Airmen. Helping and motivating others to improve their skills and enhance their performance through feedback, coaching, mentorship, and empowerment. When it is all said and done, we are warriors, we have answered our nation’s call. No one puts more on the line to defend freedom than the men and women of the Armed Forces. The effectiveness of your leadership, the empowerment of your chain of command, the commitment to your duties, and the trust for your teammates allows you/us to remain true to our legacy of valor, our devotion to duty, and our ability to remain unified in our mission to fly, fight and win!
1 - Team is number one – To me, team is my faith, family, and friends, which include you, my wingman.
Faith is a very personal part of many people’s lives, and is crucial to bringing balance, especially the balance needed in our particular profession. Faith enhances other areas of your life by providing support, guidance, courage, hope, and a sense of purpose in times of stress and challenging situations.
Family is key. When you put on the uniform, your family puts on the uniform. We can’t do this alone, we all need a support system. Likewise, it is important to know and understand that at one point or another someone out there is relying on us for comfort, help, support, attention, and wisdom.
Our friends and our wingmen round out our teams. Trust has to be established and maintained in order to build camaraderie and foster esprit de corps. This relationship may be fostered thru conversations, outings, and getting to know your wingman.
A breakdown in any of these links can degrade the team and the mission will suffer. A strong team is more than just me and you; it’s everyone. You’re all crucial to the success of the mission, the unit, and the United States Air Force. Let’s stay technically, physically, mentally, and spiritually ready to ensure our team remains number one.
Believe in yourself and believe in your people. Get them to believe they are more than what they see. Rise to the challenge every time. This is the greatest Air Force in the history of the world. We inherited a rich history and heritage and we are obligated to carry that forward.
In the words of our Commander-in-Chief, “Strive for excellence, live for adventure, think big, dream bigger, push further, fly higher, and never ever stop reaching for greatness.”
I’m honored to be the Command Chief Master Sergeant of the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, and I look forward to seeing everything that we will accomplish in the future.