Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Brown, 355th Maintenance Group superintendent, has served his country in the U.S. Air Force for more than 26 years. On July 11, he will take a new step in his career and become the command chief of Eielson AFB, AK. Recently, he sat down to reflect on his experiences and his hopes for his future assignment.
In October 1986, Jeffrey Brown arrived at his first duty assignment, Offutt AFB, Neb. His rank: Airman 1st Class. His job: maintenance data systems analyst.
â€œI have a lot of fond memories from Offutt,â€ Brown said. â€œThatâ€™s where my dad finished his Air Force career in 1981 and thatâ€™s where I started mine in 1986. I met my wife there, both my boys were born there and I am a huge Nebraska football fan. It was a perfect assignment.â€
While his off-duty hours at Offutt were full of family and football, Chief Brown logged long hours while on the job.
â€œI also remember there were a lot of nights spent sleeping under my desk,â€ Brown said. â€œAs data analysts, we ran the computer systems for maintenance. At the time I came in, we were converting everything to a different system. There were a lot of late nights spent stealing a cat nap under the desk while a program loaded.â€
After seven years at Offutt, Chief Brownâ€™s career took him and his family all over the United States, including Alaska for his first go-round at Eielson.
As a senior master sergeant, Jeffrey Brown was the 354th Maintenance Operations Squadron maintenance operations flight supervisor.
The year was 2004, and it was one of the worst wildfire seasons Alaska has ever seen.
â€œThat was a memorable assignment because the forest fires were so bad you couldnâ€™t be outside for too long,â€ Brown said. â€œThere was smoke everywhere. My boys couldnâ€™t play outside, so we spent a lot of time down in Anchorage (AK).â€
Chief Brown and his family spent about 10 months at Eielson before duty called and moved them to a new location.
In 2009, they came to D-M where Chief Brown worked as the 355th MOS superintendent. From there he went on to become the 355th MXG Superintendent.
â€œOur Airmen here on D-M do amazing things,â€ Brown said. â€œI went on my first deployment from here as a group superintendent to Kandahar, Afghanistan. I got to see D-M Airmen in action and they did incredible things for our country.â€
Airmen on his home station have also impressed Chief Brown
â€œWe passed the Operational Readiness Exercise; that was a huge team effort,â€ Brown said. â€œI literally had tears in my eyes thinking about what our Airmen had gone through and what they had accomplished. We were the 2012 (Commander in Chief) Installation Excellence Award winners. It never ceases to amaze me the things that our Airmen are capable of.â€
He is looking forward to building new bonds with his Airmen at Eielson.
â€œIt is an honor to be selected for command chief,â€ Brown said. â€œI never thought it would happen and, now that it has, I am focused. This is one of those duty positions that is literally all about service before self. Itâ€™s not about me, itâ€™s about the Airmen. Airmen on all levels, be it officer, non-commissioned officer or Airman.â€
His time as a group superintendent has given him wisdom in dealing with Airmen on a day-to-day basis.
â€œOne thing Iâ€™ve learned in this position is to have a positive attitude,â€ Brown said. â€œYouâ€™re not allowed to have a bad day. You may roll out of bed and just not feel like it, but when you walk into your office you need to be focused on the Airmen and what they need rather than dwelling on what is happening with you. Just keep a smile on your face and be ready to listen. Then after youâ€™ve helped them overcome their issues, find a confidant and take the time to sort out your business.â€
Chief Brown will be traveling to Eielson with his wife, Mary.
â€œThe first thing she asked me when she found out about the move was â€˜What is my job as the command chiefâ€™s wife?â€™ and I told her â€˜Your job is to be the most beautiful woman on Eielson, AFBâ€™,â€ Brown said. â€œShe got a kick out of that.â€
A piece of advice Chief Brown will take with him to his new assignment came from a Chiefâ€™s Orientation Course he attended at Hickam AFB, HI, in 2005.
â€œOne of the chiefs said something that stuck with me,â€ Brown said. â€œHe said â€˜Chiefs need to be comfortable being uncomfortable.â€™ As a chief sitting in this position for more than two years, Iâ€™ve gotten comfortable. Becoming a command chief has definitely put me in the position of being uncomfortable, and I think all Airmen can benefit from a little discomfort. Not knowing exactly what to do helps us take risks and makes us grow and be better Airmen.â€