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Leadership is not just a noun, it’s a call to action

62nd Operations Support Squadron Commander

Published: 11:22AM April 13th, 2017


62nd Operations Support

Squadron Commander

My Grandmother turns 90 years old this August. She is by far the wisest person I know.

Once, I challenged her wisdom when she stated to me that love is an action word. I was a young teenager, and said, “No Grandma, love is a noun.”

I even looked it up and showed it to her in the dictionary. She swiftly thumped me upside the head and said, “No boy, when you really love someone, you show them with your actions. So, if you love me, like you say you do, give me a kiss and go clean your room!” — love that lady.

True story about my Grandma. But, I have found another noun by definition, which, in fact, is actually a verb, or an action word — leadership.

Many have heard the phrase, “You know good leadership when you see it.” Well, I tend to agree. I have witnessed great leadership in my 17-year career.

However, in 2017, I have witnessed fantastic leadership in action here at McChord Field, in the 62nd Airlift Wing and the 627th Air Base Group.

The 62nd Operations Group has been rocked with three untimely deaths in 2017. However, through each of these tragedies, I have seen leadership in action in a huge way. And I am not talking about from the colonels — wing and group commanders — nor from the squadron commanders.

But leadership in its most pure form — coming from the people who don’t have a fancy title, yet stepping up and figuring out how to get to yes and how to give support to the hurting military units and family members alike.

I am talking about the young captain and technical sergeant who lead the mortuary affairs process of taking a deceased service member from the moment of death until they are laid to rest. I am talking about the first sergeant who is the first on the scene to take control of the situation and then keeps the pulse of the morale in the unit so as to bring in the proper support agencies when required.

I am talking about the finance Airmen who ensures payment is prompt to the grieving family members. I am also talking about the total force partners who leverage their connections with their civilian employers to help military members pay their last respects to a teammate.

Last, but not least, to each and every Airmen who is a part of a unit where a precious life was lost. The leadership they displayed when knowing their limits and calling timeout from executing the mission to allow themselves to grieve. Or the Airmen who were self-aware enough to say they are handling the loss as well as can be expected but ready to execute the mission.

This type of action oriented leadership is not often written about in books, nor is it celebrated on news outlets. However, it is the type of leadership that makes the United States Air Force way different from Google, Amazon, Facebook, Goldman Sacs, etc. This is the leadership that comes from being bonded in the profession of arms.

As commander of the 62nd Operations Support Squadron, a unit that has had to endure the tragedy of an untimely passing of one of our Airmen; I want to say thank you for the leadership and support that has been displayed by the 62nd Airlift Wing and the 627th Air Base Group.