Wing springs into new challenges

  • Published
  • By CCMSgt.David Carbin
  • 439th Airlift Wing Command Chief
It was a Tuesday morning, and I was at work. As a civilian here, I'm chief of operations for the 439th Communications Squadron. An email came across my screen from Brig. Gen. Steven Vautrain, which read, "...can you come to my office at 1500 today?"

I quickly replied, "Yes, General," then my mind began to spin.

I thought someone's done something wrong -- perhaps an errant email -- which would be another personally identifiable information violation. Ironically, at 1500 I entered the commander's office and the conversation started with a PII item. The general asked me when the next PII video teleconference will be with (AFRC commander) General Jackson!

However, the real reason why I was in the commander's office quickly became apparent, he offered me the job of command chief. Talk about your mind going into overdrive!

"I would be honored to be your command chief, but you know I am retiring in November of this year," I answered. The commander fully understood that premise. But effective leaders like our commander keep what's best for their people in mind. With his time remaining at Westover uncertain, and with Chief Thorpe having loved to the 22nd AF Command Chief position, Gen. Vautrain knew that the command chief 's position couldn't go unoccupied for any period of time.

So here I am. As this wing's senior enlisted leader, I monitor the morale, health, welfare and development of the enlisted force for the wing commander. It's my job to ensure your voices are heard. I provide all reservists the skills needed to be leaders of the future.

I work with senior leadership to secure additional tools for your "management toolkit." I spread the word about availability of SNCO and NCO leadership courses, in-residence professional military courses and enlisted workshops. I help people who need interviews to attend these courses -- by going out to visit you in your units thus guaranteeing this is accomplished.

During my change of responsibility speech in March, I said this wing cannot continue to improve if members don't volunteer for types of courses. You have to step up to help manage these types of programs.

What can end up occurring is a small group of reservists taking on all the projects. My challenge to you: Stop being a wallflower, fill up those dance cards and get on the dance floor. With more individuals helping, it will allow for more ideas, more points of view, and for more creativity to ensure we continue to improve the processes in the wing.

Because we continue to improve, which means always looking for better ways to get the mission done, top military leaders take notice. Our reputation precedes us and is everywhere in the Air Force. We'll be very busy in the upcoming months. Several senior leaders will visit -- the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force to name a couple of examples.

These visits are very important. The occasions give us the opportunity to show how great the Patriot Wing truly is!

To be able to display our mission integrates humanitarian support and community involvement through organizations like the Galaxy Community Council and elected civic leaders. This effort demonstrates how we are fully prepared, at a moment's notice, to support the defense of this great country without a question or doubt!

To paraphrase Gen. Vautrain at the end of every Commander's Call: "Who's the best wing in the Air Force?"

The obvious answer is the PATRIOT WING! Thanks for your service. Without that we would not be the BEST!