Meet your new leadership: Lt. Col. Artemus Armas, 39th MDOS commander

Lt. Col. Artemus Armas is the 39th Medical Support Squadron commander. Armas took command of the 39th MDOS June 24, 2014, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

Lt. Col. Artemus Armas is the 39th Medical Support Squadron commander. Armas took command of the 39th MDOS June 24, 2014, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Released)

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. 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: Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life at seventeen, I joined the Army Reserves during my junior year of high school. After my first week of basic training, I quickly realized that the military was for me. For seventeen years I served in the Army Reserves and National Guard while also receiving a commission as an Army Infantry officer. After receiving a nursing degree I decided to try to join the active duty Army. When I went to the Army recruiter they informed me that I would be reduced to a 2nd Lt. from a Capt. if I agreed to join. I decided to look at other options. My loyalty to the Army made it a difficult decision but I ultimately decided to join the Air Force, keeping my rank and also receiving a bonus.

I continue to serve because I love to take care of our military members, military families and anybody our nations deems necessary to achieve our missions and objectives. This is not only taking care of them medically but spiritually and mentally in times of need. I have been very fortunate in the civilian experiences I had before I joined the active duty Air Force working in a Level 1 trauma center, emergency department, burn center and intensive care unit. These experiences prepared me for the deployment and garrison patients I would take care of and help me in leading others to do so. I feel very fortunate to be able to serve our country in this capacity.

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

A: I would say serving as an Aeromedical Evacuation Liaison Team (AELT) Leader at Camp Bastion during initial operations. We were a four man team that was part of a small Air Force contingency. As the AELT we coordinated medevac and aerovac care for the British, U.S. Marines and Afghan forces. The joint effort between the British and U.S. AELT saved many lives by getting patients to the proper level of care quickly. It amazed me how differently we and the British went about our business but working together we achieved the same objective.

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 had many great leaders during my time as an infantry officer but I would say Col. Barbara Jones who is currently the United States Air Forces in Europe deputy command surgeon, had the most influence on me. Her leadership and mentorship gave me the confidence and tools to push me beyond what I thought I was able to accomplish. It affects the way I lead today by pushing, nudging and/or creating opportunities for those I lead to get them out of their comfort zone for success now and in the future.

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: For Army ROTC, there was a summer leadership course that I needed to attend and pass before I could get commissioned. Before I attended the course I read a book about the famous basketball coach John Wooden. There is a part in the book where fundamentals are emphasized to include teaching his players how to tie their shoes properly. I remember thinking "that is crazy" but it always stuck in my head as why that would be so important. On the second day of the course our company was running in formation and my shoe came untied along with a couple of other cadets. We were kicked out of the formation and scolded for not being able to tie our shoes correctly. I received a counseling statement from the commander. He proceeded to inform me that paying attention to details and knowing the basics of one's job proficiently are vital to all we do in the military. One wrong misstep or lack of preparation can mean the difference between living and dying and mission success. At that moment it all made sense.

Q: What is your personal mission statement?

A: Frontload! Frontload! Frontload! This basically means prepare and accomplish as much as you can now to prepare for the future because when the future comes you need to be ready.

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

A: My default answer is always the Air Force core values. To break it down in its simplest form of what I expect from my Airmen, I would say be honest and take pride in what you do.

Q: What is your strategic vision for your organization?

A: Build for the future because the future will be here soon.

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

A: To support mission accomplishment, mentor those under my command to be better Airmen and future leaders and have fun doing it.

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

A: To be top notch citizens and airmen who take care of themselves and their fellow airmen to accomplish the mission. Being an Airmen is a 24-hour, 365 days a year job.

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

A: Mission first in all we do.

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

A:
I am very humbled and proud to be the 39th MDOS commander. This is my second time stationed at Incirlik and I look forward to the two-year adventure.