Each wing received a new Command Chief in June, and the pair began building a partnership in keeping with the historic relationship between their respective wings.
“Relationships are everything,” said 58th Command Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Weimer. “Relationships are what give you knowledge and understanding of one another, and by developing and fostering relationships you understand each perspective.”
Chief Master Sgt. Robert Stamper, Weimer’s 377th counterpart, said the two chiefs established contact upon learning of their assignments.
“Even before we arrived, we emailed a few times as we found out we were both coming here,” Stamper said. The two have since become next-door neighbors in base housing, which has also been helpful.
“We were able to see each other in the driveway and look across that back fence and build a strong personal relationship as well as professional,” Stamper said.
While the 377th’s mission under Air Force Global Strike Command differs significantly from the 58th’s mission under Air Education and Training Command, comparing notes is essential in their task of developing Airmen. As the 58th oversees training spanning from initial Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape training, to personnel recovery, missile site support and DV airlift, the 377th is supporting 25 major mission partners across the base.
“There are differences in the way the two wings operate, and different policies and procedures under each Majcom—two different ways of doing things,” Stamper said. “Being able to compare and contrast and find out what works well is very important.”
Weimer said success in the Air Force is always a team effort.
“As you go up through the ranks, you don’t do it alone, and the benefit we have having two wings at this base is that we can bounce things off of each other and learn from each other,” Weimer said. “This is our first opportunity in the command chief role and they don’t make a rulebook for that, so we have a lot of discussions on how we are doing things and how we attack different problems.”
Though there may not be a command chiefs’ manual, both senior enlisted leaders have a foundation in the Air Force Core Values and mentorship based on high standards and a mandate to lead and take care of the Airmen in their wings. The pillars of their approach to this task are common to each wing.
“The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force [Kaleth O. Wright] wants Airmen that are well-trained, well-led and resilient, and we can really work together to make sure those three pillars are in place,” Stamper said.
This includes upholding and maintain the Air Force Core Values, Weimer explained. Example is everything.
“They say your first supervisor shapes who you are going to be in the Air Force, and I think there’s validity to that because I am a product of that,” Weimer said. “My first supervisor, although I didn’t understand it at the time, held me to a very high standard and some of my peers didn’t have the same experience. As I grew up through the ranks, I got to see why.” Now at the top of his profession, Weimer still seeks counsel from his first boss, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Jim Barr.
“He’s been retired for more than ten years and he’s still mentoring me,” Weimer said.
In the same way Weimer was shaped by Barr, Airmen want to be led, according to Stamper. Before coming to Kirtland, Stamper served as the superintendent for the Air Force Chief of Staff’s Focus Area #1: Revitalizing Air Force Squadrons, at the Pentagon. He said they learned Airmen wanted four things to improve the Air Force: increase the focus on leadership; blow-up barriers to success; give Airmen tools and resources to succeed; and strengthen the team.
“There is a desire from Airmen to be led,” Stamper said.
The chiefs explained that Airmen have joined the Air Force to be part of something great, a successful team. Building cohesive units, and increasing morale while building networks to support families is essential to answering fulfilling these needs.
“Part of building resiliency piece is giving time back,” Weimer said. “We’ve taken on more and more and asked people to get it done with less and less and it got to a breaking point. And the Air Force definitely understands that and is addressing it.”
From re-examining ancillary training to AFI requirements, the Air Force is innovatively looking to enable Airmen to focus on their specialties and hone their expertise.
“We are focused on well-trained leadership–something that every Airman deserves–and it’s our charge that we are developing those leaders of the future, putting in place programs that foster resiliency and building the type of supervisors that are looking out for their Airmen,” Stamper said.
As they pursue these objectives, each keeps leading by example as paramount.
“I have a phrase that I try and live by: ‘earn it every day’,” Weimer said. “If you live by that, you will always been in the right course. Whether or not you are a supervisor, the Air Force is trusting in you to give it your all. I have to do that and I’ve also got to show people why I have the right to lead them. I’ve got to earn that every day.”
The relationship the chiefs have built should also be a demonstration.
“We hope our professional relationship serves as a foundation of cooperation that our Airmen can look to as an example—to emulate as the two wings move forward into the future,” Stamper said.
DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub (www.didvshub.net). The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
Share your thoughts in the comments area below!