The decision was made. He was ready to retire and prepare for his life outside of the U.S. Air Force when he received a nomination to serve as the 2nd Air Force command chief.
From a newly enlisted Airman in 1988 to the present command chief of a training wing, Chief Master Sgt. David Staton prepares to say goodbye to Luke Thunderbolts as he departs to his next assignment.
The decision to take on such an important position wasn’t hard for Staton.
“It was a pretty easy decision to accept the nomination from the Air Education and Training Command because the bulk of my career has been spent in the 2nd Air Force,” Staton said. “It was also a family decision. We decided as a family to retire, and it was also a family choice to accept the nomination. I am one of those guys who, if you ask me to do something, is going to be the one to go do it.”
Staton has developed tight-knit bonds with the Airmen, their families and the Luke community even though he’s been at Luke for only 14 months.
“My fondest memories here have been spending time getting to know young and senior NCOs, their spouses and kids,” he said. “Another favorite memory of mine was having the honor of hosting former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Bob Gaylor at our base.”
Luke’s command chief created the “dirtiest jobs” series to give recognition to Airmen who are often overlooked.
“I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with the people I led and really see what they go through on a day-to-day basis and how they impact our mission,” Staton said. “I couldn’t pick a least favorite job because they were all awesome, but some of my favorites would be jet refueling and working at the waste water treatment facility.”
Finding the balance between his Air Force career and family has been important throughout Staton’s career.
“When you’re not deployed you should be focused on your family,” he said. “Keep your priorities in line. I do my best to put my family first and take care of their needs. In turn, they take care of mine. If you’re struggling with family issues or concerns, go to your supervisor, family advocacy, the chaplains or the Airman and Family Readiness Center. Put your family first.”
The road to become a chief is long and challenging, but Staton has a simple rule for Airmen to follow.
“There isn’t a secret for getting promoted to chief,” he said. “You were already taught what to do when you began your Air Force career sitting on the cold floor of the dayroom in basic training. Your military training instructor put you on the path to success. The difference is some chose to stay on that path while others chose to go off the path. So there isn’t any secret ingredient to become chief except doing the best you can do and going above and beyond when you can. Take care of yourself, your family, your supervisor, your Airmen and our mission and the rest will take care of itself.”
Staton leaves the 56th FW with many fond memories.
“What a great assignment this has been,” he said. “I have met thousands of Airmen, NCOs and officers, and they’ve all impacted my life. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of Luke Air Force Base as your senior enlisted member for the past 14 months. It’s been a real honor. Remember to stay focused, stay motivated and stay committed. We are the world’s greatest Air Force and with the right mentality and commitment from our enlisted corp we can always get better.”