PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Command Chief Master Sgt. Larry Malcom, who recently assumed the senior enlisted advisor duties here at the 45th Space Wing, said he has lived with and been guided through his entire 22-plus-year Air Force career by one single word. And that word is passion.
And responsibility. And dedication. And loyalty. And competence. And integrity. And team.
And most of all, Airmen.
A self-described "military brat," - his father is a retired Air Force first shirt - Chief Malcom said "passion is something that ... well ... I feel passionately about.
"I grew up in the Air Force in the IT (Information Technology) world," said the Chief, who entered the Air Force in 1986. "For me, something is either on or off. It's that simple. When it's on, and I believe in something, I always go full tilt. In my opinion, everyone needs passion in their lives. Passion drives me; it drives me to do what I do, when to do it, and to do it to the best of my ability. I have great passion for the United States of America, the Air Force and for all our Airmen and their families. And I'm proud of that passion; I wear it on my sleeve."
Chief Malcom said that responsibility is something that just comes with the territory of being an Airman. "Bottom line is this: being responsible is expected. You shouldn't be getting extra points for being responsible and accountable. Our service, our nation and the American people expect that from you, and that's just a baseline, not something above and beyond the call of duty," he said emphatically.
The Chief also said personal dedication is one thing, and there's nothing wrong with that. But what he is talking about is those Airmen "who are dedicated to the cause ... to the big picture," he said.
"Being dedicated isn't always about you," he said with an easy smile. "Being dedicated sometimes involves personal sacrifices to make sure the mission is met and your troops are taken care of."
When the Chief talks about loyalty, he made it clear he's not talking about the family dog who greets you with a tail-wagging smile every time you walk through door.
"When I talk loyalty, I am talking about it going up, across and down the chain-of-command. I'm talking about a 100 percent 'I-got-your-back' mentality.
"I'm talking about Airmen really taking care of one another, not hiding behind rank or job title, and not just giving this term lip service," said the Chief, who is married to his wife, Betty, and together they have a daughter, Hillary, who is in her senior year of high school in Nebraska.
Competence. This one got the new Chief, who already has earned two CCAF degrees, and both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree, really worked up.
"When I talk competence, I'm not necessarily talking 'book smarts,'" he said.
He said the Air Force wants - and needs - Airmen who can apply learned traits to the mission at hand, whether it's during a launch here or performing an outside-the-wire mission in some foreign war zone.
"We need Airmen who can apply common sense and their own moral compass to get things done. Correctly. Around here, we need to be perfect to do our mission.
"In other circumstances, an 80 percent solution may be the right answer. It's up to our senior troops to teach those lessons to the less experienced ones," he said. "Being competent doesn't mean you know everything; being competent sometimes means you do what you can to find the best solution."
Chief Malcom said having integrity means having the inner strength to make the right call - even when it costs you personally.
"You are the one who has to look yourself in the mirror each day, not me. And it's not good enough to pick-and-choose when and where you decide to have integrity.
"It's an everyday thing, both for big and small issues. Having integrity is habit-forming," he said. "And it's a great habit to acquire."
To the new chief, the word team has a special meaning to him. "To Excell, Attitudue Matters," he said. "Attitude isn't everything, but it can take you over the top," he said.
And, he said, having a positive, can-do attitude can do wonders in the team environment.
"I'm not talking about the Airman who is the biggest cheerleader; I'm talking about the one who has that quiet confidence, the total competence and the right attitude that becomes pervasive throughout the whole team," he said. "Like many things in our Air Force, it all goes back to being a good Wingman."
Last, and certainly not least, the new Chief wanted to talk about the one word most near and dear to his heart: Airmen.
I want you to watch my back, and I promise to watch yours," he said. "Working together - and with passion - will make us an unbeatable team.
"I look forward to meeting all of you."