Air Force Materiel Command's newest chief master sergeants pose with Chief Master Sgt. Michael Warner, AFMC command chief (far left), other command chiefs from throughout AFMC and the three special class mentors at the Enlisted Heritage Banquet, the capstone event for the 2013 AFMC Chiefs' Orientation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ben Strasser)
Special class mentor retired Chief Master Sgt. Rodney McKinley, the fifteenth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, listens to a question from one of Air Force Materiel Command's newest chief master sergeants during his CMSAF Perspective Session at the 2013 AFMC Chiefs' Orientation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class James Jacobs)
Brig. Gen. William Thornton, Air Force Materiel Command director of Air, Space and Information Operations; Col. Mark Johnson, AFMC deputy director of logistics; Col. Walter Lindsley, AFMC director of staff; and Col. Cassie Barlow, 88th Air Base Wing commander, answer questions at the Wing Commander Panel during the 2013 AFMC Chiefs' Orientation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Christopher Carwile)
Special class mentor retired Chief Master Sgt. John “Doc” McCauslin shares an update about the Air Force Sergeants' Association at the 2013 Air Force Materiel Command Chiefs' Orientation. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Christopher Carwile)
by Kim Dawley
Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs
2/19/2013 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The 33 newest chief master sergeants within Air Force Materiel Command gathered for a week-long orientation here earlier this month. The AFMC Chiefs' Orientation is held every year after the promotion selectee list is published.
"Chiefs' Orientation is essential to get these new chiefs the tools and information they need to lead at the top of the enlisted ranks," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Warner, AFMC command chief. "Even amid the necessary budget scrutiny, we decided to hold this orientation as planned precisely because of how critical it is that, as our senior enlisted leaders, these folks are fully ingrained in and prepared for their new role."
One of the first sessions the new chiefs attended was a Leadership Perspective with Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, AFMC commander.
"I rely on the advice and counsel that I get each and every day from Chief Warner," she said. "That is the role that you all will play in your organizations -- you are an integral member of the leadership team. Your relationship with the commander is instrumental to mission success, because you bring a perspective to the table that is invaluable."
Wolfenbarger emphasized that, now more than ever, the chiefs are representatives of their service.
"As a chief master sergeant in the United States Air Force, you can be certain that people are watching you -- both on and off the job -- so you have a responsibility to behave in a manner that sets the standard," she said. "Be an example of what you want to see in others."
This year's orientation included three special guest mentors -- retired Chief Master Sgt. Alan Usry, retired Chief Master Sgt. John "Doc" McCauslin and retired Chief Master Sgt. Rodney McKinley, the fifteenth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.
During his Perspective session, McKinley congratulated the group on reaching the top 1 percent of the enlisted ranks -- then advised them that the real work is yet to come.
"I can't think of a more important time in our Air Force, when we expect more out of our senior leaders like you, than right now," he said. "We need you to perform. We need you to lead.
"We expect great things from you," he continued. "We did not promote you to chief master sergeant so you can coast. We promoted you to chief master sergeant because of the extraordinary work and leadership that we expect from you in the future."
To ensure these newest chiefs are ready to meet those expectations, the rest of the orientation included sessions covering different functional areas -- everything from a Wing Commanders panel, a Legal Perspective, a session on Customs and Courtesies, and more.
"Some sessions are standard and included every year," Warner said. "For example, some of the chiefs are new to the command, so we always include a mission brief to familiarize the group with what AFMC does for the Air Force. We also try to get the chief of the Chiefs' Group here every year, because assignments and personnel issues are handled differently for chiefs."
Other sessions at the orientation target current trends or issues within AFMC or the Air Force. This year, for example, included sessions on the current budget climate, diversity and cyber operations.
The last orientation session was a Chief's Perspective led by Warner himself, who encouraged the group to keep up the stellar work that led to their promotion to chief master sergeant.
"Continue to do the things that made you successful," he said. "Continue to be involved. And remember that attitude is everything. You are the attitude-setters in your units. When you put on your uniform, you've got to put on your attitude with it -- and it has to be positive."
After spending the week with the command's newest chiefs, McKinley said he was impressed.
"Being around all these chiefs and chief-selects this week, I think [the Air Force] did a fantastic job," he said. "This group reinstates my faith in the enlisted promotion system, that we select the right people for these high enlisted grades. The quality of our enlisted force, the quality of our promotion system and the quality of chiefs in this room is very impressive."