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Voices of history: Command Chiefs advise Airmen during panel discussion

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Lou Burton
  • 178th Wing
A rich history of experiences make the insight of senior leadership invaluable to those starting out on their career path. Airman from the 178th Wing gathered career and life advice during a panel discussion with four prior Command Chiefs, and the outgoing and incoming Command Chief at the Springfield Air National Guard Base, April 11.
"This opportunity to connect with so much history of our enlisted force is such a rare and valuable opportunity," said Command Chief Master Sgt. Ottis LeMaster, outgoing 178th Command Chief.

As part of the discussion, the panel offered advice to young Airmen on what shapes a successful career.

"Education is crucial in developing a successful career. You learn a lot at your technical school but don't let that be the end of your education," said Orrin Grosjean, 178th command chief from 2001-2003. "Always set goals and utilize the numerous opportunities for personal growth and training. There is a wealth of resources available to Airmen today to continue their education."

Along with education, experience was also listed as a mark for achieving success.

"Take advantage of as many opportunities as possible as a young Airman; deploy, volunteer for assignments and gain as many experiences as possible," said Ronald Rasor, 178th Command Chief from 2003-2009.

Additionally, taking care of young Airmen while progressing through a career in the Air Force was listed a trait of a good leader.

"Remember as you progress into the role of supervisor how it felt to sit on the other side of that desk. The world is starving for people that care," said Chief Master Sgt. Scott McKenzie, incoming 178th Command Chief.

The simplicity of it was surmised into a commonly used phrase by James E. Wood, retired command chief from 1986-1990. "It's really simple; treat others as you would want to be treated."

The panel offered advice for those who are retiring as well.

"My advice for LeMaster is to stay connected to the unit and maintain the relationships you have created," said Rasor.

Adding to the historic aspect of the ceremony, the chiefs contributed notes, words of wisdom, and signatures to a wooden, engraved Command Chief Heritage Box that is engraved with the Airman's creed and core values.

"We wanted to pass on the guidance of what we do as enlisted, so we created the box," said LeMaster.

Completing the panel discussion, LeMaster reminded all Airmen of what an important role each plays and the power they have to shape their organization.

"No matter who you are, remember to lead from where you are," said LeMaster.