FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md --
Airman Leadership School class 2016-G received a visit from the eighth chief master sergeant of the Air Force, Sam Parish in their final week before graduation. Perish created an open dialogue with students on the history of the enlisted Air Force heritage, where it is now, and what the future may hold for enlisted Airmen.
“We used to call ourselves Air Force members, now, we are Airmen,” said Parish. “Everything has changed. The way you do business has changed to the uniforms you wear, your chevrons, and your education. So tell me one thing that hasn’t changed that you can read about?”
During his talk with the new frontline supervisors, he gave feedback about what is expected of non-commissioned officers in today’s Air Force. He conversed about how he came into the service at the age of 17 and his journey through the ranks.
“When I came into the Air Force, Airmen were seen and not heard. Being the way I am, I’ve always refused to accept the status quo,” said Parish. “When I had a supervisor… I had a supervisor. He paid attention and knew what I was doing and where 24hrs a day. Four years I worked for him, and the captain included me to into his life for the right reasons. To show his appreciation.”
Parish went on to explain that students are in ALS to become effective supervisors. He challenged them to make sure they are involved with their Airmen. Not because they have to, because it’s right and creates a bond. ‘I hope and pray that you take advantage of this, because now you know what proper feedback consist of.’
During the conversation, a student asked about the feedback and mentorship. Parish explained how performance reports have evolved and the importance of feedback with Airmen of all ranks. The chief described feedback as ‘the good, the bad and the ugly,’ stating that after graduation they should be looking at what needs improvement.
Because ALS prepares senior airmen and new staff sergeants with the basic level of supervisory skill and tools for larger responsibilities; Parish asked the class to think of how they will interact with their Airman and peers upon returning to their work centers. How will they improve the Air Force and make a difference for the future Airmen.
“It was a great to hear his breath of experience since the beginning of the Air Force and his outlook on the future of our enlisted core,” said Staff Sgt. Clay, 94th Intelligence Squadron, class 2016-G leader.
Prior to leaving the chief left a few words of motivation for the students. He asked them to look at their previous and current supervisors, and see the things that worked and didn’t work, then asked them to do better to make the Air Force better.
His final advice to the class was “We’ve come a long way. If you see something that needs to be fixed, speak up. You are enlisted Airmen and you need to be heard. True success is leaving your job better that when you found it, when you have developed somebody and is better at your job when you leave. ‘Never leave an Airmen behind’ doesn’t just apply to the battlefield.”