HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

After nearly 32 years, it is time to say goodbye to the Air Force that I love

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Time has flown by! After raising my hand to my first enlistment as an Ohio Air National Guardsman on March 27, 1980, and then returning to full active-duty on Nov. 1, 1982, spending almost 32 years of training, deploying, and working in the team colors of the United States Air Force, I find myself faced with retirement and some sense of joy at the prospect of not having to get up so early to go "PT" before going into work each morning. Although I have enjoyed everywhere the Air Force has led me to serve, I am also happy that I will be able to wake up in the morning and hear nothing but the sound of my feet hitting the floor and the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning at our house in Virginia.

Still, I can't help but feel a sense of trepidation at the prospect of leaving what I have known for so long, the long time friends I have made and the people who are what I consider to be the core of our country's current and future leadership capacity. Airmen are the muscle ensuring blessings of liberty, and the ultimate freedom from fear and terror to our citizens. A friend once told me, "you are going to hate leaving because you are institutionalized by the Air Force." Well, I can't think of a nicer compliment and I know I am leaving the institution of warriors in the hands of the great people who have made it what it is ... the most capable and feared Air Force the world has ever known.

So, what can I share? Well, I am going to leave you with five over-arching and inclusive points that I hope you will find useful:

First, I often hear leaders saying that Airmen today are different - they aren't like we were. Well, they are right because the Airmen of today are better skilled, more educated, committed to service and capable of so much more than we were. All they seek is to know that their work and effort has meaning to the objectives that once known and bought into - they have demonstrated (at least to me) the persistence of a bulldog. It becomes essential that all leaders at all levels connect the Airman to the mission - ALL Airmen. Every Airman contributes to ultimately putting warheads on foreheads when the time comes.

Second, every leader should have a philosophy. My primary one was to lead by example - not by exception. Do not ask your warriors to do things you can't do. Let's take physical fitness for example, if you want your warriors to be fit - then be fit yourself. Workout with your subordinates and strive for excellence. Another philosophy is that leaders should be visible both when things are going good and when things are not going so good. Visibility demonstrates caring and approachability. The presence of the leader on the shop floor, on the ramp during pre-dawn first-go, or on post checks at 2 o'clock in the morning cannot be overstated in importance.

Third, we live in a digital world where our life gets sucked away easily by hours behind a computer desk answering e-mails or sitting in an endless parade of meetings. This causes Airmen of today to be overwhelmed by e-mail and digital input as well. They don't always pay attention or pick out on their own what is important. They want leaders who will engage them and stand in front of them with some credibility and deliver the mission, priorities, and objectives of the organization. But one caution - leaders must be analog AND digital. We have several avenues of communication for guiding, influencing, mentoring, directing, and interceding with social media and other digital outlets Bottom-line being a "friend" or "poking" someone on Facebook is different in the mind and language of the Airman these days. If you aren't there - remember, THEY ARE. Leaders have got to mentor and be engaged in all mediums to keep the force healthy.

Fourth, never assume that in order for something to be critical to the mission that it has to be connected to the weapon station of an aircraft. Things such as fixing facility issues in the latrines of an Aircraft Maintenance Unit, replacing the peeling walls, windows, and floors of a Munitions Maintenance Facility, painting dormitory exteriors, expanding and updating kennels, and remediating mold and renovating an Airman Leadership School will go a long way with your Airmen. I believe efforts such as these let Airmen know that we care about the conditions they live and work in, even when money is tight - we need to continually push to get these on the Projects Listings and the "spend" plans.

Fifth, the only way to avert high suicide rates or destructive behavior, and identify and respond to Airmen in crisis is to be good wingmen and instill a culture of Comprehensive Airman Fitness (CAF). Ensuring the physical, social, professional, spiritual, and mental preparedness and readiness of each Airman and family member is essential BEFORE a tough situation or event comes up. The installation of Master Resiliency Trainers and Resiliency Training Assistants at our bases is part of this culture. In the end, the training should be provided to all Airmen, AF Civilians and our family members. This is to be supported by leaders and wingmen who are able to Prepare (get to know their people), Recognize (when a team member is dealing with relationship, legal, financial, or professional problems), Engage (intervene and ask tough questions), Send (to appropriate agencies and involve command if you believe they are going to hurt themselves), and Sustain (Follow-up until problem is resolved). PRESS is the framework for helping Airmen in Crisis - CAF seeks to prevent the crisis. The culture will be complete when it's embraced by all and when seeking help is seen as a sign of strength and that anyone on our team or in our family will feel like they can get help (not judgment) if they seek it from someone wearing the Air Force team colors. In my opinion, using suicide rates as a gauge is using a lagging indicator. The team radar should be on and alert for leading indicators such as the Central Registry Board complaints, the Chaplain's rate of counseling requests, substance abuse, driving under the influence, or underage drinking rates going up or trending high locally.

In closing, there is no way to describe our warriors and our Air Force today without saying they are the GREATEST and MOST feared Air Force that the world has ever known. We got this way through the efforts of people - not by relying on machines and weapon systems. I'm so very proud of our men and women in uniform, and I know that I will leave the Air Force in the capable hands of the greatest people I have and will ever come to know.

Take care of each other.

Chief C.
Facebook Twitter
🇺🇸🇨🇱This week 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) hosted Airmen to Airmen talks between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile. Chilean Air Force Major General Francisco Torres led the Chilean delegation in planning future multinational events between the two Air Forces.
🇺🇸🇬🇾 United States Air Force Staff Sargent Brandon Tucker was the master artist behind the designs for 5 New Horizons ceremonial keys! The keys are given during the handover of each completed project. Four small keys for each construction site and a 10 foot tall key for the handover of our camp facilities.
#EnduringPromise 🇺🇸🇬🇾U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army engineers have finished 4 construction projects in Guyana as part of the New Horizons Training Exercise 2019. Each year New Horizons Training Exercise is conducted in a different Partner Nation, this is the 3rd time it's been held in Guyana.
#DYK Since 2012, Colombian forces and the @SCGuard have worked and trained together as part of the The National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Watch this video on the South Carolina Air National Guard training and flying with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana during exercise Relampago 4 earlier this month. #EnduringPromise
🇺🇸🇭🇳Great insight into the role of Joint Task Force-Bravo, stationed at the Honduran Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. The U.S. military task force provides medical assistance and disaster response in the region while supporting our Central American partners.
#ICYMI last week New Horizons team gathered with the village of Yarrowkabra and Amelia's Ward, Linden to celebrate the completion and handover ceremonies for two community centers.
Another great Subject Matter Expert Exchange between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile! This is the second Helicopter H-60 model information exchange between the two Air Forces this year! 🇨🇱🇺🇸#PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)
🇺🇸🇨🇱The Chilean Air Force Fuerza Aérea De Chile and the United States Air Force is conducting a helicopter Subject Matter Expert Exchange this week at the 55th Rescue Squadron Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. This is the second helicopter SMEE between the two Air Forces this year, focusing on the Chilean H-60 and the U.S. HH-60. #PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise
The F-AIR COLOMBIA air show last month was a great example of the successful partnership between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. Check out our video highlighting this crucial partnership! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia South Carolina Air National Guard Air Force Thunderbirds
Hear firsthand the changes the #USNSComfort and crew are providing for those in need as a patient reflects on her experience aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship after receiving cataract surgery. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Some amazing humanitarian work still underway at the New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
A construction update from our team at New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Admiral Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), recently paid a visit to the #USNSComfort in Costa Rica, which is on a 5-month, 12-nation humanitarian mission in the region. Check out the video below! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
#EnduringPromise Take a moment to check out all the work the New Horizons Guyana construction members have accomplished on across Linden and the village of Yarrowkabra.
Airmen from the U.S. and Colombia have worked closely this month during Exercise Relámpago! F-16s from the South Carolina Air National Guard have joined with Kfir fighters from the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for this critical air-to-air exercise, which was also an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen ties between two partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #Promesaduradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
The South Carolina Air National Guard worked together with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for exercise Relámpago in Rionegro, Colombia. Check out this video overview on how the United States Air Force works together with partner nations. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera #Relámpago4 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
🇺🇸🇨🇴🇩🇴🇪🇨🇸🇻🇬🇹🇵🇦🇵🇪Thank you to the 23 Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA) students from Fuerza Aérea Colombiana, Fuerza Aérea de República Dominicana, Fuerza AÉREA Ecuatoriana, FUERZA AEREA EL SALVADOR, Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca Senan Panamá and Fuerza Aérea del Perú for visiting 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base! IAAFA provides military education and training to military members of Partner Nations in the Americas. This training builds strong relationships with our Partner Nations military forces. #PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise
Unsafe intercepts such as this are irresponsible. They increase the risk and potential for collisions. International airspace needs to be a place where everyone flies safely and within international norms.
After a successful F-AIR Colombia air show, the U.S. and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana continued their work together during Exercise Relámpago! Airmen from the South Carolina Air National Guard worked closely with their counterparts in the Colombian Air Force and continued to share knowledge, exchange experiences and improve interoperability between partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
🇺🇸🇬🇾 A U.S. Army veterinarian team from the 109th Veterinarian Detachment was joined by volunteers from World Vets to help Guyanese pet owners and farms take care of their animals during the Veterinarian Readiness Training Exercise (VETRETE) for the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) New Horizons Training Exercise!
RT @usairforce: Happy Mother's Day! Today we honor our Airmen and Spouses who fill the role of mom. Your dedication and sacrifices do not…
RT @AETCommand: You are our greatest weapon. #ReadyAF https://t.co/3kFnu1SKBZ
As the director of staff, Brian Thompson administers valuable leadership to the base. In his commentary, he illust… https://t.co/PpdMBVmG5v
RT @AETCommand: To spread his knowledge as a mentor & his experience as a leader, Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Bruce, 16th Air Force command c…
RT @AETCommand: The 81st TRG @81trwKeeslerAFB has changed physical fitness by purchasing Beaver Fit Boxes for the technical training studen…
RT @WesWilliamsII: 🤯Mind-blowing stats. Our rainiest day in over 1,000 days! Heavy showers & t-storms will come to an end around or before…
RT @WesWilliamsII: A Tornado Watch is in effect until 7 AM Saturday for the entire WLOX area of South MS. Conditions are favorable for wid…
RT @AETCommand: The Master Military Training Leader Program @81trwKeeslerAFB awarded its first Master MTLs their aiguillettes on March 19.…
RT @AFSpecOpsCmd: #ICMYI We closed out #WHM2021 by asking one final question... how has your career helped you grow? Check out what @cmsaf_
RT @USAFRecruiting: Spotted: #GirlPower at BMT 👀 #DYK: Last year, the @usairforce saw the first all-female flight to ever complete the six…
The Military Women's Summit focused on supporting interactive presentations and providing purposeful resources, lea… https://t.co/1oJBQd0tC4
Thank you Brig. Gen. Lenderman and other keynote speakers for the inspirational speeches and also those who attende… https://t.co/1uUvegwlPp
RT @AETCommand: Continuing our Value Force Generators series TSgt Christina Cordova, a Military Training Leader @81trwKeeslerAFB shares her…
RT @DOD_Outreach: Tonight is #SpringForward. Don’t forget to check your devices and stop by https://t.co/fnPCSg93cE to learn the history o…
RT @USAFJAGCorps: Congrats to TSgt Barrett Johnson, Keesler AFB, MS, February's Paralegal of the Month! #USAF #Paralegal #FuturePHD @AETCom
RT @AETCommand: To enhance the Defense Department’s cyber warfare capabilities through a more streamlined training pipeline, @81trwKeeslerA
RT @DOD_Outreach: From his experience of losing over 100 lbs. to join the @usairforce, Senior Airman Phillip Taylor shares his advice on ho…
Keesler will be standard operations Tuesday, February 16. Please drive safely and slowly due to the possibility of… https://t.co/kln19BlVvE
RT @DOD_Outreach: Do you have questions about the #COVID19Vaccine@TeamEglin medical experts address the importance of the vaccine and ans…
SMSgt Jessica Player uses her faith to strengthen her purpose and enlighten others. In our latest article featurin… https://t.co/kzBj69hkBn
Please specify menu style in settings.

Quick Links

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
🇺🇸🇨🇱This week 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) hosted Airmen to Airmen talks between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile. Chilean Air Force Major General Francisco Torres led the Chilean delegation in planning future multinational events between the two Air Forces.
🇺🇸🇬🇾 United States Air Force Staff Sargent Brandon Tucker was the master artist behind the designs for 5 New Horizons ceremonial keys! The keys are given during the handover of each completed project. Four small keys for each construction site and a 10 foot tall key for the handover of our camp facilities.
#EnduringPromise 🇺🇸🇬🇾U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army engineers have finished 4 construction projects in Guyana as part of the New Horizons Training Exercise 2019. Each year New Horizons Training Exercise is conducted in a different Partner Nation, this is the 3rd time it's been held in Guyana.
#DYK Since 2012, Colombian forces and the @SCGuard have worked and trained together as part of the The National Guard’s State Partnership Program. Watch this video on the South Carolina Air National Guard training and flying with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana during exercise Relampago 4 earlier this month. #EnduringPromise
🇺🇸🇭🇳Great insight into the role of Joint Task Force-Bravo, stationed at the Honduran Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. The U.S. military task force provides medical assistance and disaster response in the region while supporting our Central American partners.
#ICYMI last week New Horizons team gathered with the village of Yarrowkabra and Amelia's Ward, Linden to celebrate the completion and handover ceremonies for two community centers.
Another great Subject Matter Expert Exchange between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea De Chile! This is the second Helicopter H-60 model information exchange between the two Air Forces this year! 🇨🇱🇺🇸#PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)
🇺🇸🇨🇱The Chilean Air Force Fuerza Aérea De Chile and the United States Air Force is conducting a helicopter Subject Matter Expert Exchange this week at the 55th Rescue Squadron Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. This is the second helicopter SMEE between the two Air Forces this year, focusing on the Chilean H-60 and the U.S. HH-60. #PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise
The F-AIR COLOMBIA air show last month was a great example of the successful partnership between the United States Air Force and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana. Check out our video highlighting this crucial partnership! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia South Carolina Air National Guard Air Force Thunderbirds
Hear firsthand the changes the #USNSComfort and crew are providing for those in need as a patient reflects on her experience aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship after receiving cataract surgery. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Some amazing humanitarian work still underway at the New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
A construction update from our team at New Horizons Training Exercise! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
Admiral Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), recently paid a visit to the #USNSComfort in Costa Rica, which is on a 5-month, 12-nation humanitarian mission in the region. Check out the video below! #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera
#EnduringPromise Take a moment to check out all the work the New Horizons Guyana construction members have accomplished on across Linden and the village of Yarrowkabra.
Airmen from the U.S. and Colombia have worked closely this month during Exercise Relámpago! F-16s from the South Carolina Air National Guard have joined with Kfir fighters from the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for this critical air-to-air exercise, which was also an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen ties between two partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #Promesaduradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
The South Carolina Air National Guard worked together with the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana for exercise Relámpago in Rionegro, Colombia. Check out this video overview on how the United States Air Force works together with partner nations. #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera #Relámpago4 U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
🇺🇸🇨🇴🇩🇴🇪🇨🇸🇻🇬🇹🇵🇦🇵🇪Thank you to the 23 Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA) students from Fuerza Aérea Colombiana, Fuerza Aérea de República Dominicana, Fuerza AÉREA Ecuatoriana, FUERZA AEREA EL SALVADOR, Fuerza Aerea Guatemalteca Senan Panamá and Fuerza Aérea del Perú for visiting 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base! IAAFA provides military education and training to military members of Partner Nations in the Americas. This training builds strong relationships with our Partner Nations military forces. #PromesaDuradera #EnduringPromise
Unsafe intercepts such as this are irresponsible. They increase the risk and potential for collisions. International airspace needs to be a place where everyone flies safely and within international norms.
After a successful F-AIR Colombia air show, the U.S. and the Fuerza Aérea Colombiana continued their work together during Exercise Relámpago! Airmen from the South Carolina Air National Guard worked closely with their counterparts in the Colombian Air Force and continued to share knowledge, exchange experiences and improve interoperability between partner nations. #Relámpago4 #EnduringPromise #PromesaDuradera U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Embajada de los Estados Unidos Colombia
🇺🇸🇬🇾 A U.S. Army veterinarian team from the 109th Veterinarian Detachment was joined by volunteers from World Vets to help Guyanese pet owners and farms take care of their animals during the Veterinarian Readiness Training Exercise (VETRETE) for the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) New Horizons Training Exercise!
#AFSOUTH Commanding General, Major General Barry Cornish, recently spoke with #Uruguayan General del Aire, Luis De… https://t.co/vKITo4mUP8
...service members from both Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, and Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, joining tog… https://t.co/S180aPuIEf
It is rare in military operations for the composition of female service members to reach 20% and also increasingly… https://t.co/8tYsrUhW5z
#StrengtheningPartnerships! #AFSOUTH in collaboration with @ProjectHOPEorg recently facilitated the donation of mor… https://t.co/R3XH8e1MxG
@usairforce Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. recently signed perhaps the most sweeping change of Air Force… https://t.co/jZ2JKbqJsf
Her work has underscored the importance of women’s inclusion in leadership positions, aviation, as well as the cybe… https://t.co/b3PD844VKr
She has traveled throughout the SOUTHCOM AOR both as a #C130 instructor navigator promoting aviation careers amongs… https://t.co/zt1ClzcDzG
Congratulations to Colonel Sarah Russ, #AFSOUTH’s Gender Focal Point supporting the @DeptofDefense and @Southcom's… https://t.co/3g46L0LXxl
Human rights and rule of law are critical to U.S. values. #AFSOUTH supports the @DeptofDefense and @Southcom's effo… https://t.co/RjstRNfjnm
RT @usairforce: The Air Force released its new mission statement: To fly, fight, and win … airpower anytime, anywhere. Read more: https://…
RT @Southcom: #SOUTHCOM Commander Adm. Craig Faller is in #Argentina to meet with defense leaders to discuss shared security concerns & the…
#AFSOUTH Foreign Liaison Officers from Brazil🇧🇷, Chile🇨🇱, Colombia🇨🇴, and Peru🇵🇪 completed an immersion with the 35… https://t.co/mObTOFJqn3
RT @Southcom: #GoldStarSpousesDay #HonorThem "No one knows the important cost of sacrifice better than our Gold Star Spouses & Families; w…
RT @DeptofDefense: On this #NationalDoctorsDay, we celebrate the DOD doctors who provide care and make a difference around the world. Thank…
More from #CENTAMSMOKE! #Firefighters conducted vehicle extraction exercises using the #jawsoflife and continued wo… https://t.co/4n6tB6bVtd
Exercise #CENTAMSMOKE has begun! The #612thABS firefighters are ready for an exciting and challenging week next to… https://t.co/T42yiWU45B
The #DentonProgram, is a jointly administered program of @USAID, the @StateDept and the @DeptofDefense. This progra… https://t.co/Kdctx8EiEg
@Fuerzaaereapy, @usairforce & @Southcom teamed up for the first in person Subject Matter Expert Exchange since… https://t.co/sCRTcULxi2
RT @Southcom: Senior military leaders from @deptofdefense, Canada, France, Netherlands & UK held strategic level discussions exploring the…

Social Media