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    New 633rd ABW command chief shares leadership philosophy: LOL

    New 633rd ABW command chief shares leadership philosophy: LOL

    Photo By Master Sgt. Jarad Denton | Chief Master Sgt. Trae King, 633rd Air Base Wing command chief, speaks with Airman...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Airman Jarad Denton 

    Joint Base Langley-Eustis

    LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. - With her uniform perfectly tailored and spotless, hair precisely within regulations and a warm smile, Chief Master Sgt. Trae King walked into the base library July 24 to speak with students from Airman Leadership School.

    “When I came in, I just wanted to be a master sergeant,” King said, as she spoke to the class. “I didn’t see any female chiefs, so my goals were limited by what was directly in front of me.”

    King, who recently assumed responsibility as 633rd Air Base Wing command chief, said in order to create a culture of excellence, Airmen must first meet the standards in place, then rise above them. She said airmen need to LOL.

    “You have to Lead-Out-Loud,” King said. “Don’t say one thing and do something else. I won’t be able to hear what you are saying because I’ll be watching what you are doing.”

    In order to LOL, King said airmen should follow five “R’s.” They need to be ready, resilient, reliable, relevant and resourceful. Throughout her life, King has adopted these leadership tenants on both a personal and professional level. After losing both parents before finishing high school, King said the odds were stacked against her as she grew up in Cleveland. The U.S. Air Force gave her a chance when others had not, allowing her to persevere.

    “When you don’t have a whole lot of people you can turn to growing up, you have to find creative ways to survive,” she said. “For me, that was the Air Force. It afforded me a family.”

    The Air Force gave King the structure and guidance she needed to succeed. She followed the path of excellence, demonstrating her readiness at all levels.

    “I wanted to be the kind of airman I would want to work with,” she said.

    Now, King focuses on being the chief that Langley needs. She said she is ready to encourage airmen, discipline them and even hug them when they need it. One of the most important tenants of her leadership philosophy is resiliency – the ability to bounce back from difficult experiences.

    “More veterans have died committing suicide than over in Afghanistan,” she said, solemnly. “There is nothing so deep where you should consider taking those kinds of actions.”

    King said she has experienced her fair share of challenges during her career. But, it wasn’t the problems that defined her – it was the path she took to persevere.

    “I wouldn’t change a thing about my life,” she said. “Those hard knocks and disappointments made me better. They made me into who I am today.”

    Even after 27 years of service, four college degrees, a suitcase full of leadership courses and a published book of poetry, King still feels she is still evolving – still dreaming for bigger and better things.

    “You have to see yourself doing something bigger,” King said. “You can’t allow the naysayers to dissuade you. Tell people your dreams. When they laugh at you, then you know you’re on the right track.”

    King said it’s also important to be surrounded by positive influences, and people who believe and encourage others to dream for a better life.

    “Birds of a feather really do flock together,” she said, paraphrasing an old saying. “If you flock with eagles, you will fly higher.”

    By having a plan, and aggressively pursuing her dreams, King has established herself as a reliable pillar within the Air Force community. She has committed herself to excellence every day, and wearing the uniform with pride and distinction.

    “This is the cloth of our nation,” King said, proudly touching the fabric of her Airman Battle Uniform. “People see this and know the person wearing it is an airman. I am so proud to be among their ranks and wear this uniform every day.”

    King said the uniform embodies the various aspects and dimensions an airman must embrace in order to fully adopt the whole-person concept, and incorporate that into a relevant leadership style.

    “This cloth is like a quilt,” she said. “Initially, there are so many different pieces all scattered about. But, when they are sewn together it becomes a quilt which can cover the airman. As a chief, it’s my responsibility to bring those pieces together, and help create something astonishing.”

    Self-admittedly, her leadership style is one of nurturing. King said she cares for all Airmen, because to her, the Air Force is one big family. As she approaches the end of her career, she hopes her Airmen will remember her for genuinely caring about them, and encouraging them to be resourceful in their development.

    “I would hope they would remember me for not letting anyone settle for the status quo,” King said. “That I pulled the absolute best out of them, and I was their number-one fan along the way.”

    She hopes all airmen have an opportunity to see their completed Air Force quilt, and be proud of how it looks. For King, that moment arrived two weeks ago when President Barack Obama visited Langley.

    “It all hit home when the president walked down the stairs from Air Force One and was met by this poor little girl from Cleveland who wasn’t expected to be anything – to do anything,” King said. “When that little girl greeted the president as a command chief master sergeant, and he thanked me for my service - that brought everything home. That was the last piece of my quilt.”

    She smiled broadly again.

    “I have done my very best to walk in excellence, to set a standard for others,” King said. “I have carved that mantle and taken pride in being a woman of character, and I had fun doing it. I’m not uptight, I love people and I’m happy. And I truly, truly enjoy helping others become the best person they can be.”

    King has taken her walk in excellence and forged a comprehensive leadership style which she passes along to airmen.

    “If you want a stronger force, you must encourage airmen – with a big ‘A,’ to do better, and set a standard for excellence,” she said. “You must lead better by getting to know and taking care of your folks; and you must be better – physically, academically, spiritually and emotionally. All of that can be achieved, if we … LOL.”



    Date Taken: 07.26.2012
    Date Posted: 07.26.2012 12:44
    Story ID: 92193

    Web Views: 110
    Downloads: 0