Be Ready!

  • Published
  • By Command Chief Master Sgt. Shana Cullum
  • 439th Airlift Wing

Many people may not be aware of what a command chief’s responsibilities are. Here’s my opportunity to give you my vision and a few of my moving-forward priorities.

Although not all-inclusive, I am responsible for leading the enlisted force, advising our commander on matters impacting the enlisted force, and making sure the commander’s priorities are not only publicized, but understood by the masses. Ultimately, I need to make sure your voice is heard by senior leadership so they can make the best decisions for you when following Air Force instructions.

We have about 2,200 personnel assigned to Westover. It’s impossible to “hear” 2,200 voices and be effective in understanding and communicating the needs of all -- when given in the form of individual feedback. That is why we have created organizations such as the Rising Six (technical sergeant and below), the Top 3 (master sergeant and above) and the Company Grade Officer (second lieutenant through captain) groups. These organizations are your avenues to communicate your concerns/needs to senior leadership.

Yes, these groups plan and conduct morale events, sometimes raise funds (that go directly back to supporting our Airmen) along with other fun events, but their primary purpose is to solicit information from the wing and relay that information to me, as a group, so I can in-turn work with senior leadership to ensure we are providing the professional development, quality of life concerns/suggestions etc. that is needed to mold “tomorrow’s leaders”. This is also a way for me to relay our commander’s intent, priorities and the way forward.

While I’m diligently relaying both yours and our commanders needs/wants, there is still a certain amount of responsibility that we need from each and every individual person that puts the uniform on. If you have ever heard me speak in a public forum you have heard me say “BE READY”. It is every individual’s responsibility to ensure they have all of their PME complete and to stay on top of their individual requirements (medical, PT, dental, etc.). You need to be forward-thinking your own career development. It is not always easy juggling additional training like distant learning courses, civilian jobs and families, all while being a reservist. Please know that we recognize your efforts and appreciate your due diligence to continue to strive to be the best that you can be! Sometimes it is easier to knock the PME portion out by going in-residence. If that is the case, let your first sergeants know. We have numerous Airman Leadership School, Noncommissioned Officer Academy and Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy in-residence seats available, along with the NCO Leadership Development Course and SNCOLDC classes given right here on station a couple of times a year.

Although its senior leadership’s responsibility to remove unnecessary hurdles, our front line supervisors need to understand just how important their jobs are. Get involved, get your Airmen involved! Among many other responsibilities, as a supervisor it is your place to make our Airmen recognize opportunities outside of their comfort zones … and mentor them to just do it! Times are changing on how we make our Airmen competitive (reserve development plans, record boards etc.). My challenge to every service member that is privileged to wear a uniform and defend our AWESOME Nation is … BE READY!

I am honored, privileged and humbled to be not only a command chief, but to be YOUR command chief! Your drive, desire to serve and tenacity in these trying times, never goes unnoticed!