From the Top: Leadership 101 - Know Your People

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton
  • Commander, 45th Space Wing
Last Friday, General Mark A. Welsh III was sworn in as our 20th Chief of Staff of the Air Force. The ceremony took place at Joint Base Andrews, MD, and included the retirement of the outgoing CSAF, General Norton Schwartz, who ended his career after 39 years of honorable service.

Key to our new Chief is his leadership style. If you have not already done so, do me a favor, log on your computer and search for "General Welsh Speech to USAFA." It occurred last November, when General Welsh, then Commander of US Air Forces in Europe, gave a speech to the cadet wing of the US Air Force Academy. The topic was simple: Know your people.

I have heard him speak numerous times and the theme is always the same. I felt it was important enough to share with our base senior leaders this past Tuesday during our off-site. If you watch the clip, you'll quickly understand the leadership style of our new Chief.

As you all know, we have a wonderful opportunity to work and play in the Space Coast. Launching rockets from the Space Coast of Florida... we should pinch ourselves every day. Unfortunately, we must also recognize the downfalls of living on a barrier island surrounded by salt water. The environment wreaks havoc on our infrastructure.

Fortunately, we have our 45th Civil Engineer Squadron professionals, led by Lt. Col. Riordan-Smith, leading the charge to provide periodic maintenance and repair/replacement to infrastructure for Team Patrick-Cape.

They, along with our contractor partners have a daunting job but do it with precision. The Command Chief and I had the opportunity to see it up close, spending time with one section last week. The "Dirt Boys" showed off their stuff when I visited them out at their heavy equipment yard. It was great getting behind the controls of the equipment to see firsthand what you do.

Finally, a farewell to our Deputy Director of Staff, Captain Jovan Williams and his wife Lisa, as they head north to Virginia. He well be PCSing to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) located in Ft Belvoir. I know you will find it exciting and challenging. Thank you for all you did to support the wing. Remember, you'll always be a Shark!

Enjoy your weekend, remember to watch out for our school children and always be safe. Keep pushing, Sharks!