Commentary

June 14, 2012

D-M senior enlisted corps primed to lead

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Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. Vincent Howard
Command Chief, 355th Fighter Wing
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Chief Master Sgt. Vincent Howard

As my time as the 355th Fighter Wing’s command chief draws to a close here, it’s hard not to notice how great it is to be an enlisted leader on the Desert Lightning Team – I am surrounded by powerhouse leaders that make service easier for us all.

In the past three months, two of our chief master sergeants have been selected for command chief positions at other bases. Chief Master Sgt. John Dougherty, formerly the 355th Mission Support Group superintendent, recently departed to assume the highest enlisted position at Kirtland AFB, N.M., and Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Brown, currently our 355th Maintenance Group superintendent, is slated to become the command chief master sergeant for the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson AFB, Alaska in July 2012.

I have had the privilege of working closely with both chiefs during my tenure as the Desert Lightning chief.

Chief Dougherty was been a warrior-leader from the time he touched down to wheels up. He led during Operation Enduring Freedom in the Air Force’s newest combat wing, where he guided the bed down of three new weapon systems–a huge cross functional task. The DLT knows this was a Chief who demonstrated an uncanny ability to communicate with and motivate Airmen. A two time-Chiefs’ Group President, he established leadership credibility with Airmen of all ranks.

Chief Brown’s leadership experience ranges from squadron to Major Command Functional Manager, as well as a chief enlisted manager in OEF where he expertly guided 813 Airmen in combat operations. The Chief is an expert team builder and has focused on developing resilient Airmen during his time with the DLT. He is implicitly trusted by Airmen across our base and has proven his ability to work with officers at all leadership levels.

By putting in the hard work and dedicating themselves to the mission alongside our DLT members, Chief Dougherty and Chief Brown set a great example for all of us to follow. At the end of the day, it’s the expert application of the Air Force core values of “Integrity First,” Service Before Self” and “Excellence in All We Do” that drove Chief Dougherty and Chief Brown to the next level of leadership.

The enlisted corps should make a note of the paths to success taken by both chiefs because every Airman has the capability to lead, and every Airman who enters into this great brotherhood has the potential to become a chief. I am proud to have served with these Airmen as I’m sure we all are. Both Kirtland and Eielson are fortune that our Desert Lightning chiefs have or will soon arrive to provide expert leadership to their teams – just as the DLT benefited from their leadership, expertise and dedication.




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