JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The highest enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force, chief master sergeant, is an elite tier of enlisted professionals that provide a unique and vital service to the force.
To help new chief master sergeants in the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) prepare for their new rank, PACAF leadership held a 4-day Chief Orientation Course for new E-9s and their spouses at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, March 12-15, 2018.
“The Chief Orientation Course allows us as a command to provide our new chiefs information on the roles they are embarking on in the Air Force,” said Chief Master Sergeant Anthony Johnson, PACAF command chief. “The course provided them with aspects important to being part of a command team.”
During the course, attendees had opportunities to hear from leadership at all levels through panels and guest speakers. The course culminated with an opportunity to speak with Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright.
“What I am going to ask you to do right here is commit,” Wright said. “You have to commit to your Airmen, you have to commit to your teammates, and you have to commit to being a good leader in our Air Force.”
Part of being a good leader is being an example for others to follow, Wright said. To include taking care of your Comprehensive Airman Fitness pillars.
“In your new positions you will have to learn balance,” Wright said. “There is going to be even more pressure now to make sure all your t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted. You have to make sure you are taking care of yourself, in order to be a successful leader.”
Eight international partners from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Sri Lanka provided the new chiefs and chief selects a unique perspective as chief equivalents in their respective air forces.
“We are here to contribute our experience to the new chiefs and to provide a perspective from international partner nations,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jamie Marshall, Royal Canadian Air Force Academy commandant. “I have gained the perspective that a lot of the challenges our air forces experience are the same.”
Working in PACAF affords leaders the opportunity to work side-by-side with our partners and allies throughout the region.
“When you look at the vastness of the Indo-Pacific region and the numerous countries we work with, we don’t do it alone,” Johnson said. “That is the strength of our air forces; our ability to work with our allies, friends and partners. Having them here exemplifies the importance of our relationships to the chiefs that we don’t do it alone.”
Along with mentoring the Air Force’s current and future chief master sergeants, the course welcomed their spouses, who play a significant role in the support systems of these senior enlisted leaders. The spouse’s conference highlighted programs to educate spouses on issues and challenges families face as they transition and serve in the Air Force
“This year was the first time we included spouses at the Chief Orientation Course,” Johnson said. “We always say ‘recruit an Airmen, retain a family’. It allowed us to share with our families what we as an Air Force and command expect from our service members at this new rank. More importantly, it allowed us to recognize the sacrifices and contributions our families make to support us.”