01 July 2010

Thoughts from the Chief

"They say there's a girl behind every tree. But there are no trees!" It's tough for the single guys here in Minot. There are a lot of young cops on the base, who like many young men, have two things on their minds: booze and women. But they're not allowed booze - most are underage - and women are scarce. So they tend to get in trouble or get out. Morale's a big challenge here - on top of the lack of things to do, it's super cold, and Airmen are living two to a dorm.

"Sometimes you gotta lie. As a leader, you can't have a bad day."

"I'm a pretty optimistic guy. I get to go home to bed with the woman I love. It doesn't matter where we are - she's my wife, I love her, and I'm happy. Plus, since being up here, I bought a riding lawn mower - it's great. I upgraded my snowblower - and my wife didn't say anything. I've got a lot of new hardware." As he said that, he had a nice big grin.

"I went to basic training in 1982. There were some Cadets there - I don't know what their job was. There were Corvettes - yours - in the parking lot. I remember one day, one of the Cadets stood over us, with arms crossed, and asked us military history questions. Even if it was the day before graduation, we'd been in the military six weeks. And I was a hippie. He only asked questions he knew the answer to, arms crossed, standing over us. I still remember his arrogance. That was 28 years ago. There's a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Don't be arrogant. I don't think Lieutenants should talk. They should be quiet, in sponge mode. Just learn."

"To this day, I stand up when a Second Lieutenant walks in my office. It's how I've been trained. They outrank me. It's a sign of respect - they did what they had to do to become an officer, and I admire them."

"A lot of times, when airmen find out my wife's a Major, they feel I can't understand their situation. When they think of a Chief married to a Major, they think, 'They're rich'. And they feel I can't identify with them. But they forget that I was an Airman too, making grocery lists, shopping at the commissary, living in a trailer with a wife and a kid. I've been there too." The Chief's wife used to be enlisted - she went to OCS and commissioned a while ago. So don't worry, it's all on the up-and-up.

All this comes from the Wing Command Chief. 28 years of service, wants to re-enlist, but can't - max is 30 years. He's earned a lot of respect.

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