Five Airmen representing 90th Missile Wing excellence

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- During Memorial Day weekend I had the chance to reflect on my first two months on the job as the Mighty Ninety command chief. I can say without reservation that this job is the best I've ever had in my 25-year career. The Airmen in the 90th Missile Wing never fail to impress me with their dedication and commitment to the mission. Whether you operate, maintain or defend the missile system, or provide mission and medical support to our Airmen and families, your enthusiasm inspires me to be on my game. You are truly the very best America has to offer.

As I've made my way around the wing, I've had the opportunity to recognize many professional Airmen performing outstanding service with my command chief coin. These Airmen often embody leadership and I want to take the time to share with you their stories. There is a saying I often use which goes: "I would rather see a sermon then hear it any day." The Airmen I will highlight demonstrate their leadership through their actions every day.

Senior Airman Timothy Mason from the 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron and Airman 1st Class Alexander Gunter from the 90th Contracting Squadron are two Airmen I had the fortune of meeting and coining for leadership. Mason is a fire team leader in the missile field, providing security to our ICBM force. He leads a team of four Airmen ready to execute weapons security with lethal efficiency if called on; a tremendous responsibility for a young Airman.

Gunter was an Airman I had the opportunity to meet one Friday evening when I showed up on his doorstep in the dorms. He gave me a great tour of the dorm and his enthusiasm for his job was impressive. Even more impressive was his involvement and leadership in the dorm council. Here was a young Airman, new to the wing, still in upgrade training but showing leadership skills at an early age. Mason and Gunter's actions are examples that rank and leadership are not mutually exclusive. You can be a leader at any rank or any position in your unit.

Airman 1st Class Thomas O'Connor from the 90th Munitions Squadron and Airman 1st Class Jade Bouza from the 90th Security Forces Squadron are two Airmen I met while touring one of our secure facilities. O'Connor meticulously works on ICBM payloads. He fully appreciated the detail level required for his job. He understood why he has to be perfect and can't afford to make errors. He related a story to me on the importance of following the technical order and checklist - if they mess up an order at a fast food restaurant, it's not a big deal - if you mess up while performing maintenance on a weapon, bad things could happen. Bouza is a defender who was on her first tour since arriving at F. E Warren. Her first night on shift she gave her initial post brief to me - it was flawless.

Both of these Airmen have fully embraced the wing mission, and both fully understand the level of commitment and the high standards they must maintain in their daily performance. These two young Airmen are good examples of how we all should learn the wing mission, love it and live it every day we put on our uniform and report for duty. Leaders at every level must teach their subordinates how they fit into the overall mission of the wing and motivate them to perform to our high standards. There is no doubt both O'Connor and Bouza will be successful because they have done just this. Bouza, I have a coin with your name on it, make sure you collect it from me.

The last Airman I want to highlight is one I coined for bold leadership. Senior Airman Jeremy McNabb from the 90th SFS was an Airman I met on one of my visits out and about. I had on one of my new uniforms with my brand new command chief stripes. McNabb said, "Chief...you have a few strings hanging off your uniform." I coined him right on the spot for his bold leadership and not walking by a problem. If this young senior airman was willing to tell the command chief he was out of standards, I know he is willing to hold his subordinates and peers to the same high standards. It's easy to tell your subordinates when they are out of standards. It's more difficult to tell your peers and superiors when they are out of compliance. McNabb is a great example of bold leadership; one we can all learn from - and yes - I cleaned up the strings on my uniform.

These are just a few of the many great Airmen I've met over the past two months on the job. I know there are hundreds of leaders out there performing at their best I have yet to meet. I look forward to getting into more shops, duty sections and out to the field over the next few months.