In the softly-lit Daedalion Room at the Hap Arnold Club sit nearly two dozen Airmen, discussing agenda items and new volunteer initiatives they organize, when suddenly the room gets called to attention.
Pens and pencils drop to the table as Airmen quickly snap to attention. An unfamiliar tall and well-built man wearing an Airman Battle Uniform is escorted to the front of the room by Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Willers, 452nd Maintenance Group superintendent.
When the room is put at ease, the unannounced guest introduces himself as the new 452nd Air Mobility Command’s Command Chief, Master Sgt. Timothy C. White, Jr., and and says that he wants to visit and learn more about this volunteer group of Airmen as part of his second official day on the job.
The volunteer-based group, formed in 2009, is comprised of E-1 through E-6 (Airman Basic through Technical Sergeant). The 452nd Air Mobility Wing Rising Six promotes camaraderie and enhances professional development of the enlisted force, said Tech. Sgt. Kyle Platt, Blue Eagles Honor Guard, and president of the Rising Six.
“The Rising Six was founded on volunteerism and proves it on a regular basis,” said Platt. “Our members get involved and lead projects because they know it’s the right thing to do.”
With programs such as Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House Charities, a Zombie Run in the fall, a Color Run this summer, and a new Physical Training Pacer Program, the Rising Six has created many initiatives to choose from, said Platt.
“I was pleasantly surprised with the Rising Six, with how much they’re engaged, how proactive they are and how they are devoted to development,” said White.
It is common to see squadron-level-initiated volunteer groups, or even some that have been guided heavily by leadership. But to see an organization like this Rising Six, formed independently from Airmen, is impressive, White added.
“I think something that everyone has in common is a shortage of time,” said White. “You never have extra time; you have to take it from some place. Take that time. Attend the meetings. Get involved and present those ideas and give the process a chance to work.”
“This organization has the power to change its direction,” said Willers, referring to the momentum the organization had by attracting a diverse number of Airmen from different squadrons. “Bring the ideas; bring the energy.”
In addition to serving fellow Airmen and the local community, Rising Six members also help themselves professionally by the activities they plan, organize and implement.
“Joining an organization like this is crucial to branching out and getting to know other enlisted [Airmen] from squadrons around base,” said Platt. “The term gets thrown around often [that] networking is critical in the success of a military member’s career.”
While the volunteer network boasts more than 100 active members belonging to the Rising Six who attend either the A or B Unit Training Assemblies, Platt stressed that much more progress could be made.
“We are always looking for new ideas,” said Platt. “My staff and I are open to suggestions and are willing to change ideas into actions.”
New ideas for the Airmen of the Rising Six appear to have another avenue of support for facilitating those ideas into action through the wing’s new command chief.
“I just think I want the Rising Six to know that the Top Three is behind them, the chief’s group is behind them, and me, as the command chief; I’m behind them,” said White.