Chief Master Sgt. Dave Staton, the 56th Fighter Wing’s new command chief, arrived July 31 with clear expectations of Luke Airmen.
“I expect everybody at every level to be a leader,” he said. “I have some pretty big expectations for NCOs and senior NCOs, specifically,” the chief said. “We’re going through a real rough time right now and we can do better across the Air Force.”
The chief mentioned resiliency as an important topic across the service. Like Gen. Mark Welsh III, the Air Force’s new chief of staff, Staton knows every Airman has a story, and he wants every supervisor to know their Airmen well.
Talking about what he refers to as “in your face, face-to-face leadership,” the chief said it doesn’t matter if you have “zero stripes, one stripe, eight, are a second lieutenant or a full-bird colonel,” leadership means knowing your subordinates.
“You’ve gotta lead, gotta get out front,” he said. “Everyday there’s an opportunity — don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to challenge something when you think something’s maybe not right or maybe we can do something a little bit better. That’s how we get better — by Airmen bringing
it up and it keeps coming up the chain.
Staton grew up in Gentry, Ark., and joined the Air Force in 1988 as an information manager. He went on to become a military training instructor, and spent six years as a first sergeant, followed by squadron and group superintendent positions and finally as a command chief for the 10th Air Base Wing at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
The chief has also deployed a few times, most recently to Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he served in 2010 as a mentor and advisor for Afghans, a job he said was “one of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had.”
For now, he’s just happy to be in Arizona and part of the 56th Fighter Wing.
“I’ll be here for hopefully two years,” he said. “I‘m just excited to be here — excited to be a member of this phenomenal team at Luke Air Force Base.”