One of a kind
By John Ingle, 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 09, 2006
SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
The stars aligned perfectly for Chief Master Sgt. Jeannie McLean when it came time for Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux to announce Sheppard's next command chief master sergeant.
She wanted to serve as a command chief.
She has extended family in Wichita Falls.
Her technical training school for finance was here in the early 1980s.
And there has never been a female named command chief in the history of Sheppard.
In reality, it had more to do with the Air Force and General Devereaux deciding she is the best fit for Sheppard and its mission. She begins serving Sheppard in mid October.
"The challenge and excitement is that I will get to work with Airmen again," Chief McLean said. "There's not a whole lot of that on a daily basis" at the Pentagon.
The chief currently serves at the Pentagon as the financial management career field manager.
Chief McLean said she isn't one to step aside and not focus on issues that any enlisted member might have.
"I'm a fixer. I want to fix things," she said. "The command chief gets to do that."
She said her job is to take all of the irritants Airmen have to contend with daily and minimize them or their effects. She provided an example from her own career field.
If a bomb loader or a maintainer in Iraq or Afghanistan doesn't get paid correctly, the situation leads the Airmen in the field to lose focus on the mission.
"If I can solve their other problems so they can focus on their mission, then I've done my job," she said.
Sitting behind a desk doesn't allow her the freedom she needs to be able to alleviate some of those irritants. She said getting out and visiting face-to-face with Airmen informs her of concerns or issues among the enlisted ranks.
As a career field manager, she was able to get out to other bases and listen to concerns of Airmen in her career field. She said she will do the same here.
"If you don't talk to them one-on-one, you can't hear what their problems are," Chief McLean said.
The chief said her first order of business is to establish a strong relationship with other chiefs on base as well as first sergeants and commanders. Her goal is to learn how they can all work together to benefit Sheppard.
As far as being the first female command chief master sergeant here, she said she's an Airman first.
"It's not that I'm the first female command chief," she said. "It's that I'm a command chief who happens to be female."
The chief said on one hand she hopes to be a role model to young female Airmen. On the other hand, her desire is to be a good role model for all Airmen.
Chief McLean joined the Air Force in June 1983.