MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Each week during Air Force basic military training graduation ceremonies, new Airmen raise their right hands and recite the Oath of Enlistment. Many of these Airmen enter the Air Force with aspirations of reaching the pinnacle of the enlisted force as chief master sergeants.
Although the majority of Airmen go on to serve honorably throughout their four, six or twenty-plus year Air Force careers, only 1% of the entire enlisted force will ever reach the summit and earn the title of “Chief.”
The landmark achievement of becoming an Air Force Chief Master Sergeant was realized by nine Team MacDill Airmen at the Chief’s Induction Ceremony, Jan. 31, in Tampa.
Serving as the event’s keynote speaker, Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Simpson, the 18th Air Force command chief, offered tips and advice to the newly selected chiefs, emphasizing the importance of relationships between supervisors and the Airmen they oversee.
“Leadership is not about the leaders, leadership is about knowing who you supervise and working every day to help make them better,” said Simpson. “People want to be led by someone who they feel has their best interest at heart, and you can’t do that if you don’t know your Airmen.”
According to Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Green, the 6th Air Refueling Wing command chief, it is important that the new chiefs be willing to keep a sense of ambition and excitement about leading others.
“Airmen are going to turn to you, and will mirror your actions,” said Green. “Simply through your actions and the way you present yourself, you are inspiring those Airmen to be like you one day.”
Looking forward to stepping into his new role as chief, Senior Master Sgt. Jorge Bonilla, the Joint Special Operations University enterprise management course director, explained that he will share his experience with his Airmen, so they, too, can reach their goals.
“I want every enlisted Airman and officer to know that I am there for them, and will do what I can to take care of them,” said Bonilla. “I intend to continue to provide Airmen with the education and training needed that will allow them to grow personally and professionally.”
For Simpson, being approachable, knowledgeable and having the willingness to stop what you’re doing, sharing your thoughts and, in many cases, just listening are paramount to being an effective chiefs.
Though the road to becoming a chief is a challenging one, Bonilla explained that any Airman who aims to become a leader should remember the importance of guidance, mentorship and building relationships.
“Seek out mentors to guide you, and accept frank feedback,” said Bonilla. “And most importantly, understand that people are the greatest asset we have, so take care of everyone, and they will take care of you in return.”
Air Force officials selected 530 senior master sergeants for promotion to chief master sergeant of the 2,529 eligible for a selection rate of 20.96%.
Chief master sergeants serve in the highest enlisted rank and hold strategic leadership positions with tremendous influence at all levels of the Air Force. They are charged with mentoring and developing junior enlisted personnel and strongly influence the professional development of Company Grade Officers. They bring substantial operational and occupational experience as well as strong institutional skills to their organizations and assigned tasks.