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Building network helps on path to making chief

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. John Evalle
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Command Chief
As a young Airmen, do you have your sights targeted on chief master sergeant?

I am very pleased to personally know several Travis Airmen who are focused on hitting that target. This afternoon, the members of Airmen Committed to Excellence here at Travis will take direct aim at all the chief master sergeants on the paintball fields in a friendly battle.

Of course, the ACE vs. Chiefs paintball challenge is just one way these Airmen in the ranks of senior airman and below aim at the rank of chief. The members of ACE are developing and sharpening their leadership and organizational skills by planning, conducting and supporting activities focused on building and strengthening their "Airmen network." I am excited to see their organization steadily growing with representation of Airmen from every organization on base.

You might wonder why I think a group of young Airmen creating a network of friendships with peers across this entire base is so important. Here's the secret that every chief master sergeant knows well: A chief's ability to help someone is strengthened and multiplied by the network of chiefs in organizations across the entire Air Force.

I always tell Airmen that as the command chief, I rarely solve problems directly. However, I do have phone numbers for every chief on base and also know which chief to call to help resolve any specific issue.

You may think that's only true because we are chiefs. That's only part of the truth. We also are a network of friends. I firmly believe that no rank beats the speed of trust of a friendship you have with a teammate who calls you in need of your assistance.

As a chief master sergeant, I see one of my primary roles as a developer of future Air Force leaders. Every day, Air Force supervisors help new Airmen resolve work-related and personal problems. Eventually, that same help turns into guidance for that subordinate to become a self-sufficient problem solver.

All supervisors love the day when one of their Airmen comes to them for guidance with a complex, cross-functional problem and the Airman already has a viable, proposed solution. An Airman' s confidence in calling across organizations to figure out a problem grows when they are calling a person who they already know. As that Airman' s network of friends in organizations across the base grows, so does their ability to resolve larger, complex issues for themselves, their subordinates and the Air Force.

The network among Travis ACE is strong and growing, and every Airman should be encouraged to become an active member of ACE. It is a great pleasure to watch this group's members develop into innovative, problem-solving Airmen who have the initiative to reach across organizations to plan, organize and work through issues.

I have great confidence in the future of the Air Force in the hands of these capable young leaders, and I genuinely see several future chief master sergeants among them. Of course, hitting that goal of chief master sergeant will not be easy, but as we engage in a friendly battle this afternoon on the paintball fields, I am certain many Airmen will be "on target" for chief in more ways than one.