Meet your new leadership 39th ABW Command Chief: Chief Master Sgt. Vegas Clark

Chief Master Sgt. Vegas Clark is the Command Chief of the 39th Air Base Wing. Clark is the principal senior leader to all enlisted U.S. Air Force personnel assigned to Incirlik Air Base and advisor to the wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

Chief Master Sgt. Vegas Clark is the Command Chief of the 39th Air Base Wing. Clark is the principal senior leader to all enlisted U.S. Air Force personnel assigned to Incirlik Air Base and advisor to the wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Every wing in the U.S. Air Force has a principal senior enlisted leader assigned. The wing command chief master sergeant provides leadership and guidance for all enlisted personnel and is an advisor to the wing commander. This feature highlights the leadership style of the 39th Air Base Wing's new command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Vegas Clark.

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

Answer:
I joined the Air Force for three reasons. First, I wanted to get off the streets and stay out of trouble; lost a lot of friends to street violence. Secondly, I joined to get away from my mother's meat loaf ...let's just say it wasn't the best. Last, but not least, I joined to see something different than tornado-filled Wichita, Kan. I continue to serve now because I love mentoring and developing Airmen who will one day take my place and ensure we remain the world's greatest Air Force.

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

A: I've been all over the world and back during my career and my mother never got a chance to attend any of the ceremonies and events. However, I was blessed to get an assignment to McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., and she was there to see me pin on chief master sergeant. She has always worked extremely hard, so it was nice to honor her during the ceremony.

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: I would have to say my second supervisor, Staff Sgt. Christopher Jones, had a big impact on my career. He talked me out of applying for the Palace Chase Program. He also led by teaching first and then empowering me to get the job done. The key thing I learned is that supervisors must have trust their Airmen ... no trust, no positive impact.

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: Shortly after being promoted to master sergeant, I was faced with an issue that impacted my work section. Let's just say a senior ranking enlisted member we supported was grossly misusing his government phone and my communication team approached me about the situation. I validated the wrongdoing and first thought about the ramifications if I upset or confronted the senior leader. However, I decided to confront the senior leader about the violation and he admitted the issue and reimbursed the government. I learned that it's easy to lead by example when things are going right, but you earn your stripes during conflict and when the stakes are at their highest.

Q: What is your personal mission statement?

A: Leadership is about creating a culture of excellence through education, mentorship and professional development for our next generation of leaders. 

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

A: I am a firm believer that hard work pays off and doing what's right is what we should strive for.  I expect Airmen to do their best, no one is perfect, but if you strive for excellence we can achieve great things together.  Although some days will be long and tough, we must still take care of our families through community and support. 

Q: What is your strategic vision for your organization?

A:
  Teamwork always, while ensuring our Airmen remain focused on Incirlik's number one priority

Q: What are your leadership goals as the command chief while here at Incirlik?

A:
My goal is to continuously develop our enlisted force by providing professional development opportunities to Team Incirlik. I would also like to impact our community support programs by bolstering what is already awesome at Incirlik Air Base.

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

A:
  Be the best Airmen you can be, but understand that we must challenge ourselves in order to get better. I expect Airmen to adhere to the standards, customs and courtesies and be great Wingmen for one another. I'd like to think we are a big family here, so with that comes a big responsibility to help each other. Last, but not least, I expect the Senior NCOs to lead by example ... be the role model that our young Airmen aspire to be like.

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

A:  Have the mindset of excellence always. It doesn't matter what your job is, you will impact the mission in a positive or negative way ... you have to decide which way you're headed.  There has never been a championship winning team who has set below average standards. We have a no-fail mission and there are people in this region of the world who are counting on us to get the job done. 

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

A: I believe people who serve are truly special people!  Less than one percent of Americans serve in the Armed Forces ... as I stated before, you are all special people. Thank you for your service and I look forward to seeing you around the base.