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Chief retires after 30 years

  • Published
  • By Retired Chief Master Sergeant John Evalle
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Command Chief
As a term to wish for someone's well-being at parting, "farewell" is very appropriate. For my bidding farewell to the Air Force, the term "farewell" feels incredibly less than satisfactory. I simply want to wish so much more for the men and women that will carry on and continue to serve our country in the United States Air Force. A wish for "well-being? Not even close. How about fare fantastic or fare inspired or fare amazing. Yes, my wish for all Airmen and their families that serve our country is to be and feel amazing.

I wish for each and every one of them to feel valued, appreciated and cared for. I wish for them to feel that internal sense of pride that comes with their humble role of protecting the freedoms of America. I wish there was a better way to convey the massive volumes of love and support that American citizens feel for those that serve our country as soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. You should feel very valued. You should feel very appreciated. You should feel very cared about.

At my retirement, I said that young leaders should let what they value be visible to others. This is one of the most important measures of a successful leader. Being ambitious and even expressing your willingness to take on a leadership role to your superiors is certainly important. But given the opportunity, I have never used my "first pick" as a kickball team captain on someone I have never seen play simply because they said they wanted to be on my team. I have always selected those that have previously demonstrated that they were strong kickers, very fast runners, great catchers and had a passion for winning.

If your desire is to be selected to be on the best kickball team, you have to let that team captain and others see your skills, abilities and attitude. When I tell young leaders, "surround yourself with excellence, and you will never fail," I often have to remind them that is a leadership lesson they learned on the playground in elementary school. We want people on our teams that we have seen perform in a manner that adds value to our team's potential for winning.

So when I say let what you value be visible to others, it's my way of saying you must allow others to see your "kickball skills" regularly. Sometimes people see what you value when you don't even know they are looking. Have you ever seen someone walk by a piece of trash on the ground? If never walking by a piece of trash is something important to you, you might have made a mental note about that member you saw step over the trash. Of course, that translates in my head to walking by a problem. Don't get me started on how I feel if I see someone throw a piece of trash on the ground.

Sometimes people talk about what you value behind your back. It is true that we regularly get both positive and negative feedback on people when making decisions. If someone is known to their peers and subordinates as someone that is only "helpful" when leadership is around or as a horrible supervisor, those viewpoints get around. But on the converse, words of praise and admiration for a member from their peers and subordinates as well as their demonstrated ability to inspire excellence speak volumes toward a person's potential for higher level leadership positions.

So my final nuggets of goodness are simple. Commit yourself to taking care of others. Not because you want to be seen doing it, but because it is the right thing to do. Don't wait for someone to direct you to do something that you know needs to be done. Just do it. Be the amazing supervisor everyone wants to work for. Teams of people that collectively want to do their very best get recognized by higher level leadership, and so do the captains of those teams. Great leaders understand that being the goodness to inspire the greatness is their responsibility. Those inspiring leaders get recognized as members we want to pick first.

What a privilege and honor to be culminating my Air Force career as a chief master sergeant serving as a command chief at the 60th Air Mobility Wing, the largest (and the best) wing in Air Mobility Command. My chapter has now come to a close, but I am superbly confident that the Air Force is in amazingly capable hands.

A great friend asked me if I thought I had left a legacy. I don't know about that, but I definitely know that there are many members at Travis that are willing to "be the goodness" and will certainly inspire greatness well into the future. Fair amazing Air Force from a very inspired and retired chief master sergeant.