By Airman 1st Class Krystal Tomlin
Air Force Public Affairs
In attending Air Force Association’s 2011 Air & Space Conference & Technology Exposition, I had the opportunity to sit in on the Command Chief Master Sergeant Forum where the chiefs answered questions from the participants on any topic relating to the Air Force and leadership.
A number of interesting questions were brought up. What’s the biggest challenge to the enlisted force? How can supervisors best lead millennial troops? Do you have any advice for junior enlisted Airmen?
As I was listening to the responses to these questions I began to notice that from the day we receive that cherished Airman’s coin and the even greater treasure of being called an Airman each one of us has the answers.
When asked if all Airmen are professionals, all of the chiefs agreed without a doubt that we are absolutely professionals. Command Chief Master Sergeant to the Director of the Air National Guard Christopher Muncy said that with all of the training and education requirements that Airmen have to maintain we may even be more professional than our civilian counterparts. This professionalism is something that we learn in basic training and solidify throughout our career.
Another recurring theme was taking care of each other and trusting leadership. These were part of nearly every topic, and though they were usually brought up as two separate things, I believe that they go hand in hand.
Chief Master Sergeant William W. Turner, Command Chief Master Sergeant for Air Force Special Operations Command, said that one of the biggest stressors for the enlisted force is uncertainty of the future. Chief Master Sergeant John T. Salzman, Command Chief Master Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force Academy, followed that up by saying Airmen know with certainty that they will deploy, but they don’t know what will happen to their family. The solution they offered was to trust that leadership will make the right decisions.
A piece of advice that Chief Master Sergeant Pat Battenberg, Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force District of Washington, gave to Airmen might also help leaders at all levels gain the trust that will help alleviate some stress, and it involves taking care of one another. He said to try to find a way to say yes even when it may be easier to say no.
Munsy wrapped it up nicely when he reminded us that the first thing we were ever issued in the military was a wingman.
We keep our uniforms, equipment and personal appearance in inspection order, so ask yourself, are you taking the same care with your wingmen?
Photo: Chief Master Sgt. Pat Battenberg, Air Force District of Washington command chief, answers a question from a member of the audience Sept. 19, 2011 at the Command Chief Master Sergeant Forum during the Air Force Association 2011 Air & Space Conference & Technology Exposition in National Harbor, Md. The forum was an opportunity for Airmen to have a direct line of communication with top leaders in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Melissa Goslin)