Be a good communicator, take care of yourself and set a good example for Airmen to follow, said Maj. Gen. Carl Schaefer, Air Force Materiel Command deputy commander, in his opening remarks at the inaugural AFMC Command Chief Orientation, Sept. 30, 2019.
“Listen more, trust your gut, remove any barriers to communicating with your most junior Airmen, take care of your family, and most of all, have fun,” he said.
The two day event, led by Air Force Materiel Command Command Chief Master Sgt. Stanley Cadell, was designed to familiarize new AFMC wing and center command chiefs with the overall organizational mission and how their units fit into the bigger picture.
“This course is an opportunity to prepare these new leaders for success as they step into their command roles,” said Cadell. “We have a complex mission, and it’s important that our new enlisted leaders understand the bigger picture and how the work they do each day at the wings and centers impacts our overall success.”
In addition to briefings on directorate mission areas, the chiefs met with key leaders on the headquarters staff and developed connections that will help them to know who the right person is at headquarters to work through issues affecting their Airmen at home.
“All of these chiefs have been in the seat for less than six months, and some have never been assigned to AFMC prior to this position,” said Cadell. “We owe it to our Airmen to ensure their chiefs are developed, mission aware and ready to lead at AFMC.”
During opening remarks, Schaefer highlighted the key role of chiefs as part of a leadership team and the importance of communication and maintaining a focus on command priorities during the course of daily activities.
“Is your calendar filled with your commander’s priorities? How is your communication? Yes, you are going to be mentoring, you are going to be solving the crisis of the day. But if you keep a focus on the priorities you decided together as a command team, you and your command team will be successful,” he said.
Schaefer also provided key words of advice for the chiefs as they lead the next generation of Air Force Materiel Command Airmen.
“Everyone’s watching you. If they don’t see you taking care of your family or if they don’t see you running at the gym…if they don’t see you leaving work at a reasonable time each day, then they don’t want to be you. Be a role model for your Airmen,” Schaefer said.
For Chief Master Sgt. Ian Eishen, command chief at the 412th Test Wing, Edwards Air Force Base, the conference provided a greater understanding of the wide range of Air Force Materiel Command missions and a broader perspective on the issues that impact his Airmen.
“This was an excellent opportunity to hear a variety of perspectives on issues that are impacting our Airmen,” said Eishen. “It was also great to build face-to-face relationships across the MAJCOM (major command) rather than try to solve problems over email.”
Chief Master Sgt. Jeremy Huggins, command chief at the 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing, Scott Air Force Base, noted that the networking opportunities and crisis intervention strategies were highly beneficial and that he would love to see future professional development events for chiefs in the future.
For Cadell, the orientation was a great success and one that he hopes to make an annual occurrence.
“We’re doing everything possible to develop the best leaders to serve our Airmen. It’s what the Air Force needs and what we need to ensure AFMC is successful,” said Cadell.