News: Deployed airmen join highest enlisted tier
Story by Senior Airman Bahja Jones
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION – The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing honored 19 Airmen selected to join the ranks within the highest enlisted tier during a Senior NCO Induction Ceremony here Aug. 30.
The Air Force-wide theme for the ceremony was, “The Next Generation of Leaders,” and keynote speaker, Chief Master Sgt. Marcus Johnson, offered words of wisdom from his 20 years of enlisted experience to the wing’s up-and-coming senior leaders.
“How do you successfully prepare for and transition to the operational leadership level?” asked Johnson, the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron chief enlisted manager, and a Paducah, KY., native. “The key is undertaking some of your most important charges: developing your successors, providing sound advice to leaders, and supporting junior officer development.”
The chief focused on three senior NCO duties to “develop, help and support” airmen and officers, as it is their responsibility so stated in the Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure.
After sewing on their sixth stripe, the senior NCOs will be held to a higher standard. But the chief reminded them despite the added responsibility, to “enjoy the ride” in their Air Force journey.
Selectees were grateful for the opportunity to participate in the traditional ceremony despite their deployed status.
“I really was appreciative they were able to put something like this together in a deployed environment,” said Tech. Sgt. Brian Badstibner, a 763rd Expeditionary Readiness Squadron intelligence analyst, deployed from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI, and hails from Chandler, TX. “It’s a really important step in all of our careers and it really does mean a lot that they are still thinking about the traditions and the heritage of the Air Force.”
Following the keynote address and the induction certificate ceremony, Brig. Gen. Roger Watkins, the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, provided closing remarks echoing the chief’s message and congratulating them for achieving a milestone in their Air Force careers.
Quoting Abraham Lincoln, the general said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” reminding the NCOs to be genuine and consistent in their new leadership roles.
Overall, the event provided awareness and presented new expectations to the master sergeant selects.
“It gave me great insight on what I need to do as a senior NCO,” said Tech. Sgt. Erica Willis, the 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron requirement manager, deployed from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and hails from Las Vegas, NV.
“I’m looking forward to the newfound responsibility and the challenges we’re going to face,” Badstibner added.