Never mine alone

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Chief Master Sgt. Loretta Washington, 355th Medical Support Squadron superintendent, poses in her office at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., July 15, 2020. Washington was the first in her family to become an American citizen, college graduate and U.S. service member. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Sari A. Seibert)
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Hard work has always been a part of Chief Master Sgt. Loretta Washington’s life.

From watching her parents work in the fields of New Zealand, to working diligently in the Air Force for the past 25 years, Chief Washington, the 355th Medical Support Squadron superintendent at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., understands that the best way to succeed in life is to be determined and unrelenting.

“I am the first of my family to join the U.S. military, become an American citizen, a college graduate, travel the world and I am the first female Samoan chief master sergeant in the Air Force,” said Washington.

Because Washington strives to give her best, she was able to make the rank of chief master sergeant in March of 2020. Due to her humble background and spirit, she shares her successes with all the important people in her life.

“My path to chief was never mine alone,” said Washington. “I am humbled every day to work alongside Airmen, who make up our great Air Force.”

She carries with her the philosophies of hard work, dedication and perseverance with the hope they will be passed on to her Airmen, which will allow them to either meet or exceed her expectations.

“People often mistake my personality as being aggressive, but I am just assertive in matters that concern my Airmen’s growth,” said Washington.

Washington stands by the idea that Airmen are the foundation of the Air Force. She believes the first step in keeping the Air Force great is to ensure her Airmen are taken care of.

“My own charge as a chief is to make more chiefs,” said Washington. ”The best way is to be honest and respectful of our Airmen’s desires. My dream was to become a chief and make my father proud. Each Airman has their own goals, my job is to make those dreams a reality.”

Chief Master Sgt. Loretta Washington, 355th Medical Support Squadron superintendent, measures out pills in the pharmacy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., July 15, 2020. Washington was the first in her family to become an American citizen, college graduate and U.S. service member. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Sari A. Seibert)

Washington supervises Airmen across the 355th MDSS and tries her best to ensure they achieve their full potential.

“To me, Chief Washington is like an Air Force marathon coach; she picks you up when you can’t run anymore and pushes you forward,” said Tech. Sgt. Gabriela Gonzales, 355th MDSS Resource Management Office flight chief. “It can be painful sometimes but she will be running right beside you, pushing you to be the best you can be. Her transparency and her motto ‘I expect nothing but the best from my Airmen’ has stuck with me all these years.”

Not only is Washington admired by her Airmen, but she is respected by her leadership as well.

“I have watched Chief Washington be a present leader at the 355th Medical Group,” said Chief Master Sgt. Susan Hale, 355th MDG superintendent. “She demands superior performance and is involved with her Airmen at all levels. Her squadron is tougher, better and further developed due to her hands on leadership.”

Leaders like Washington are part of what allows the 355th Wing to continue leading the Air Force by creating strong, dependable Airmen.

Chief Master Sgt. Loretta Washington, 355th Medical Support Squadron superintendent, works behind the counter at the pharmacy at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., July 15, 2020. Washington works with her Airmen to help build morale and unity in the squadron. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Sari A. Seibert)
(Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Sari A. Seibert)
(Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Sari A. Seibert)
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