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Meet your leadership: Lt. Col. Timothy Meerstein, 39th CS commander

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Meerstein, 39th Communications Squadron (CS) commander, stands with 39th CS Airmen for a photo Oct. 5, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Meerstein is in charge of more than 170 permanent party and deployed Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Devin M. Rumbaugh)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Meerstein, 39th Communications Squadron (CS) commander, stands with 39th CS Airmen for a photo Oct. 5, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Meerstein is in charge of more than 170 permanent party and deployed Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Devin M. Rumbaugh)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Meerstein, 39th Communications Squadron (CS) commander, poses for a photo in front of a communication satellite dish Sept. 30, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The 39th CS provides communications needs across the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John Nieves Camacho)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Meerstein, 39th Communications Squadron (CS) commander, poses for a photo in front of a communication satellite dish Sept. 30, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The 39th CS provides communications needs across the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John Nieves Camacho)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

This summer brought in many new faces to Incirlik AB. Many of these Airmen are new squadron commanders, group commanders and even a vice wing commander and command chief. To help members of Team Incirlik gain a better understanding of who their leadership is and what their expectations may be, the 39th Air Base Wing public affairs office, is releasing a series of personality features on our new leaders.

Question: Why did you decide to join the Air Force and why do you continue to serve?

Answer:  During my senior year of high school, my dad asked me what I wanted to do after graduation. I told him that I was not certain, so he told me that I was either joining the military or going to college. In the end, I decided to do both. Over winter break of my senior year, I toured Michigan Technological University (MTU) and met with the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Commandant of Cadets. Following that cold and snowy afternoon, I was impressed with what both MTU and ROTC had to offer. I was intrigued with the idea of attending college while pursuing a commission.

I continue to serve my country because of the people I serve alongside, the mission that we execute, and the vast opportunities the Air Force offers. There is no fraternity like the United States military. We are a close-knit organization that supports and defends the Constitution, while taking care of each other and our families personally and professionally. What other organization does that? The missions we are charged with and the purpose for which we stand is truly remarkable. Couple that with the opportunities to travel, lead, and serve. These things keep me energized to wear the uniform.

Q: What is one of your proudest achievements in your military career?

A:  After serving for so many years, I’ve been blessed to be a part of so many wonderful opportunities. However, being selected for squadron command ranks right up there at the top. Over the course of my career, I have had the fortune to serve with and learn from so many great service members that have shared their lessons and provided positive examples to follow. To take those “tools” and apply them now as a squadron commander, to pay it forward, to take care of our Airmen and fulfill the mission, is humbling.

Q: Is there a leader from your career that influenced you the most? If so, who, and how did they affect the way you lead?

A:  Chief Master Sgt. (ret.) Mark Huckeba, Col. (ret.) Paul Besson and Col. Matt Smith were all very influential while I was a young company grade officer. Huckeba took me under his wing and showed me what an officer should be professionally. I was Besson’s executive officer in the 55th Communications Group, and he demonstrated how to be a servant leader, a humble professional, and a family man. I was Smith’s flight commander at the 603rd Air Control Squadron, and he continually challenged me personally and professionally. He gave me opportunities to apply the lessons I had learned earlier in my career and lead a diverse flight of Airmen both in garrison and downrange. I really cut my teeth as an officer in Aviano.

Q: Leaders often face a significant challenge or watershed moment early on in their careers that influence their formation as leaders. Did you have any moments like these that helped shape you into the leader you are today?

A:  While deployed to Kandahar in 2010, we sent one of our noncommissioned officer’s home on emergency leave immediately after his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The focus instantly shifted from the mission to him and his family. His deployed comrades comforted him and ensured he left on the next flight out of Kandahar. Key spouses back in Aviano took care of their personal effects while the family moved to the states, so his wife could begin receiving treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. That deployment reinforced the fact that we value our people and take care of our Airmen and their families. Period.

Q: What is your personal mission statement?

A: Mentally, physically, and spiritually prepared to perform, giving maximum effort with a positive attitude.

Q: What values and ethics are the most important to you, and what do you expect from your Airmen?

A: It’s hard to top the Air Force Core Values of integrity, service, and excellence. But if I had to choose something to augment our core values, it would encompass pride, accountability, and a positive attitude. No matter the task at hand, strive for excellence and perform to the best of your ability. Put your best foot forward and do so with unquestionable pride. Our actions are a direct reflection of who we are and what we stand for. We work hard with a positive attitude because our name is on the mailbox.

Q: What is your strategic vision for your organization?

A:  Be the premier communications provider for garrison and deployed operations.

Q: What are your leadership goals as a commander while here at Incirlik?

A: Take care of our Airmen personally and professionally. Drive mission success through cyber readiness and mission assurance.  Maintain a heightened sense of readiness and preparedness.

Q: What are some of your expectations for the Airmen you lead, and why?

A: Everyone is a leader regardless of rank; lead “above the line”. Take care of each other; we are your family away from home. Make your squadron better; our name is on the mailbox.

Q: What are your mission expectations from the units you lead?

A:  Understand how the squadron fits into the bigger picture. Appreciate how the communications we provide enables greater mission success. Improve the quality of service we deliver.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: Communicate...Dominate!