Senior NCOs preserve standards, traditions

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. O.G. Mannon
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
I don't normally intend to talk about past events in this column, but I'm going to make an exception--because something really important happened here last month. On Nov. 14, senior master sergeants Scott Miller, Terry Neuharth, Raymond Paul and Tanya Yahn each earned promotion to chief. 

I hope all of our young officers and enlisted folks understand what a huge accomplishment this is. Out of more than 260,000 enlisted people currently serving, less than one percent wears chief's stripes. 

To look at it another way, we have 14,000 brand new Airmen pass through our gates each year. Only about 100 of them will ever make chief. 

That's a pretty elite group. 

Whether you're a junior enlisted person working toward a successful career, or a young officer learning to lead effectively, you'd be wise to spend time talking to a chief. 

The strength and professionalism of our senior NCO corps is one of the things that makes the U.S. military unique in the world. They are well-educated, experienced and technically skilled. Many of the responsibilities routinely performed by our senior NCOs would only be entrusted to career officers in most countries. 

I've learned as a commander that the success and performance of a unit depends largely on the senior NCO corps. When they set high standards and hold individuals accountable to those standards, the unit succeeds and morale stays high. Problems are dealt with at the lowest possible levels, allowing commanders to focus on leading, without being weighed down by disciplinary and administrative tasks. 

Senior NCOs are also critical to preserving our standards and traditions. From wearing the uniform to respecting the flag to physical fitness: where they lead, others tend to follow. 

So, as we celebrate the promotion of four of our finest, I want to let all of our senior NCOs know how much I value and depend on them. I expect nothing short of excellence from them, and have no doubt that they will deliver--just as they always have. Thank you for all you do to ensure the 82nd Training Wing remains the Air Force's Center of Excellence for Warrior Technical Training.