WASHINGTON - Key Air Force leaders, including the service’s top uniformed members, attended a recent chief orientation seminar at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) Feb. 3-7.
The seminar aimed to prepare the future chief master sergeants and those who recently pinned on their final stripe, the responsibility that comes with their new rank.
“You should feel proud about this accomplishment,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody. “People are always going to be looking at you on this path. They need to see you moving the organization forward in a meaningful way.”
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III stressed the impact a chief master sergeant can have on everyone with whom they come into contact.
“You are the most important conversation in your Airman’s day,” Welsh said. “They don’t accidentally talk to you. When they come (to) talk to you (if) they have an issue. It might not be a major issue to you, but to that Airman it is.”
Welsh reminded the new chiefs leaders that they need to get to know their Airmen.
“Every Airman has a story,” he said. “Their stories are sad, exhilarating, uplifting, sobering, they are every adjective you can come up with and every Airman has one. The most important thing is they are unique to that Airman. And the simple fact is if you don’t know the Airman, you don’t know their story, you can’t lead the Airman. You have to make sure every supervisor you have working for you knows that.”
Welsh commented on several of the issues facing the Air Force such as sexual assault, and lack of respect in the work place can be tied to not knowing one another very well.
“The better we know each other the better care we will take of each other,” he said. “It is not going to be an Air Force program that is going to fix this, it is us. It is Airman to Airman. You guys set the tone to make that happen.”
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer discussed a variety of topics ranging from force management to sexual assault response and prevention and the budget. He also shared his leadership lessons and reminded the group that their Airmen are going to watch every move they make.
“They are going to look at how you conduct yourself,” Spencer said. “When they see you have enthusiasm for what you do, it will be a force multiplier. It will make your folks want to come to work.”
All briefers repeatedly stressed that the new and soon to be chief master sergeants could impact every Airman they crossed paths with for better or for worse.
“When people have relevance they have hope,” said the Commander of Air Force District of Washington Maj. Gen. Sharon K. G. Dunbar. “So when you are out and about let people know they are relevant, make sure they understand how important they are.”