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Air National Guard CCC visits AFNORTH, 601st

  • Published
  • By Mary McHale
  • AFNORTH Public Affairs
Stressing professionalism and resilience throughout, the Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard visited the CONR-AFNORTH enterprise and its enlisted force Oct. 9-10.

Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling spent the visit touring and sharing his thoughts with enlisted Airmen in various directorates and the 601st Air and Space Operations Center.  It was a homecoming of sorts for Hotaling, as he was previously the AFNORTH command chief.

"The two days I spent at CONR- 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) was an emotional return for me," he said. "Having been the command chief of this organization 18 months ago, I reflected on it and the experiences I gained from being the command chief of this organization have shaped the way I act today as the Air National Guard command, and for that I am forever grateful."

The command chief said the first thing he learned when he got to the headquarters was the importance of strategic communication.

"I believe every leader must have a vision and communicate it so we can know where we're going."

With that, he shared his vision at an "All Call" and focused on three key areas: renewal to the commitment to the profession of arms; health of the force, especially when it comes to resiliency; and recognizing and embracing accomplishments.

When he talked about the profession of arms, he talked about it characteristics - education, skill sets, dedication and discipline. He spoke about the experience of basic training and how it transforms recruits from trainees into Airmen and what an emotional time it is as they prepare to graduate with pride in front of family and friends.  He also described the formation run trainees do the day before they graduate.

"The route of that formation run the next to the last day is done on purpose," the Chief explained. "While it zig zags along, suddenly it bursts onto a straightaway and the bleachers are teeming with all kinds of people. It's the first time they see how much America cares for them, and the crowd sees Airmen completely transformed, it's a pretty emotional time."

To emphasize the point, he brought up to the stage the youngest Airman in the audience, A1C Tyler Turnmire, an air tasking order technician from the 601st Air and Space Operations Center, who graduated basic training in May. The young Airman agreed seeing such a crowd, with ten of his own family members and friends in attendance as well, was quite an experience.

"The best way for me to describe Chief Hotaling's "All Call" would be both nerve-wracking and inspiring," Turnmire said. "I was extremely nervous when he called me up to the stage, but I calmed down when he asked questions about my experience with basic military training. He reminded me of all the good that had come from BMT, and brought back that the feeling of being rewarded my Airman's Coin. Overall the experience was a great one, and not one I will forget."

Before he left the stage, Hotaling gave him his coin but not before quizzing the young man on several historic dates.

He added if people are not still feeling that same strong, passion for their chosen profession of arms, "it's time to go."

Talking about the health of the force, Hotaling honed in on resiliency - mental, spiritual social and physical.

"Resiliency in all its forms is critical to a person's success or failure," he said.  "It's important to be realistic and face the issues of the day and not get sucked up in drama."

The chief also addressed the new enlisted evaluation system, branding it a "good news story" for the Air National Guard.

"This is going to allow Airmen across all the components to be speaking with one voice," he said. "One of the most valuable things a supervisor can provide is their Airmen is feedback. It's a basic human need to be told whether you're doing good or bad."

Force development was another topic on the chief's mind as he described ongoing work on a 2014 version of the Air National Guard Force Development Concept of Operations.

"We will clearly define for you what is expected of you in every tier of you being an Airman for your education, your training and your experiences," the command chief said. "This one document will be the place to go for supervisors to help lay a roadmap for professional development and leadership development out to all their Airmen."