ACC chiefs depart Offutt with broad perspective
By Senior Airman Peter R.O. Danielson, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 21, 2013
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Air Combat Command's 120 newest chief master sergeants and chief master sergeant selects are settling back into their squadrons and wings throughout the globe with lessons they learned at the 2013 ACC Chief's Executive Course, held at the Dougherty Conference Center here Jan. 27-31.
The course was designed to introduce the chiefs to the major command's programs, policies and procedures. It also gave these new senior leaders management guidance as they take new positions and responsibility at their home units.
"We should never forget that training and developing leaders is critical to mission success," said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Parsons, ACC command chief master sergeant. "This is not a conference. This is not an orientation. This is professional military education. It's our opportunity to move our senior enlisted leaders into the strategic mindset and role that we ask them to step into. It's critical that we continue to do this because leadership is the ultimate equalizer for our Air Force."
The command chief came to the four-day orientation to oversee the chiefs as they received the tools needed to succeed in the Air Force's highest enlisted rank. They were also warned about the trials and expectations they would soon face with their newly earned rank.
"This promotion is not about a pay increase," Parsons said. "Stripes do not represent a pay raise. They represent a level of responsibility. They are commensurate with the responsibility the Air Force has entrusted in you as you take care of the sons and daughters of our nation as they fight and die for our freedom."
Other guest speakers for the event included Chief Master Sgt. (ret) James McCoy, the 6th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force; Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader; and Chief Master Sgt. William Thomaston, 55th Wing command chief. Their message of active and accountable leadership shone in statements given by new chiefs.
"I am no longer 'invisible', meaning that wherever I go, I am a senior enlisted leader and I can no longer take a passive role in my unit," said Senior Master Sgt. Philip Kyger, manager of Air Force Weather Agency's A6 Warfighter Systems Integration Division and attendee of the Chief's Executive Course. "I am expected to mentor and guide my Airmen and also the officers in my unit. Once you're a chief, you can no longer have the attitude that we can sit back and just do our jobs and disappear in the background. We must aggressively take on new leadership roles and new challenges that will push us to improve our units and achieve mission success while taking care of our Airmen."
Lessons were framed to ensure the attendees would absorb an important focus of the event: the future of the Air Force and the people who will keep the planes flying.
"The [lesson] that hit home with me was to take care of our Airmen," said Chief Master Sgt. Darrell Amoruso, 55th Maintenance Squadron superintendent. "They are our greatest resource, and one day, they will replace me. I need to mentor and develop them to be at their best to ensure that our Air Force remains the greatest air force in the world."
As the chiefs left Offutt, Parsons thanked the 55th Wing, U.S. Strategic Command and the Air Force Weather agency for hosting this event.
"You have a very diverse set of missions that make up Team Offutt, combined with the hospitality of a great protocol staff and community downtown that make this a great place to execute this course," he said.