39th ABW Command leadership detail key priorities and vision

  • Published
  • By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Winn
  • 39th Air Base Wing

Colonel Calvin Powell, 39th Air Base Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Justin Stoltzfus, 39th ABW command chief, outlined their priorities, vision, and goals for the base and Airmen during an introductory interview July 19, 2022. This interview comes after Powell’s assumption of command and Stoltzfus assuming the role as command chief of the 39th ABW.

As commander, Powell (also referred to as Titan 1) is responsible for approximately 3,500 U.S. military, civilian and contractor personnel and the combat readiness of U.S. Air Force units at Incirlik and five geographically-separated units in Turkey. As the command chief, Stoltzfus (referred to as Titan Chief) serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the commander on all matters of readiness, training, utilization, health, welfare, moral, and professional development for U.S. military, civilian and contractor personnel assigned at 39th ABW and five geographically separated units in Turkey. Additionally, the command chief advises the commander for Base Operations Support Integration (BOS-I) activities for Turkey-based joint and combined combat forces conducting operations in the region.

During their first interview as command team leads, Titan 1 and Titan Chief discussed their Air Force backgrounds, priorities, visions for the 39th ABW and its Airmen, and direction they plan on taking the wing.

Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Winn, 39th ABW public affairs journeyman: “Good afternoon Colonel Powell. Could you provide some insight on your Air Force background?”

Titan 1: “I've been interested in military service since eighth grade. I spent most of high school focused on trying to get into a service academy and was incredibly blessed with the opportunity to go to the Air Force Academy. From the Air Force Academy, I went straight into pilot training where I was able to fly F-15C aircraft for two assignments. Additionally, I did an assignment as an air liaison officer before transitioning to remotely piloted aircraft. I flew MQ-1 and MQ-9 aircraft, both in combat related missions and in training for several years, which took up nearly the first 17 years of my career. During that time, I was in the tactical operations of the Air Force and supporting the joint fight. That really shaped the type of officer that I am today. It created opportunities that I never expected I would have. I joined to serve and be an officer first and a pilot second. I was blessed with a great opportunity to get to fulfill that dream and then in 2015, I transitioned to staff positions for a couple of assignments at both of the Headquarters Air Force and then at European Command at the combatant command level. Most recently, I was given the opportunity to get back into the tactical world and go back to the wing level as a vice commander for both a Europe mission wing and an Africa mission wing, and it was an incredible opportunity to reconnect at the Airman level. Finding myself here is a ‘pinch me its real’ kind of scenario. It's not something that I've had my sights on necessarily, but just an incredible opportunity to lead, guide, and improve the quality of service and the quality of life at the individual level for our team.”

Winn: “What are your priorities for the 39th Air Base Wing during your tenure here?”

Titan 1: “The mission for Team Titans has remained quite consistent for a long time and that's to defend NATO’s Southern Flank. That's easy to say, but it means a lot in just a few words. The way I've come to grips with the various aspects of our mission in order to defend NATO’s Southern Flank is that I expect that we're first ready for our surety mission. We are ready at any moment of any day, at any time, throughout the year to answer that call with confidence and the highest level of readiness. We are a reliable airfield at the southernmost point of NATO that can launch aircraft and support the area of responsibility for CENTCOM, EUCOM and AFRICOM. We maintain an ability to be responsive. If you look at the history of the wing, we’ve been called on to surge our capacity, whether that is supporting fighter or airlift squadrons and Airmen or Soldiers for various missions. Our teams are always thinking about ensuring a ready surety, reliable airfield and a responsive mindset in order to support our forces.

Winn: “What is your vision for the progression or direction of the 39th Air Base Wing?”

Titan 1: “One of the greatest opportunities we have in Incirlik is that we're on one-year assignments. We have an ability to come in with high energy and sustain that high energy all the way through to the end. With that, we have to make sure that our team is able to sprint the entire race. I feel it's the chief and my responsibility to create an environment where Airman can stay at peak energy throughout their entire assignment here, so that's where you'll see us focus our energies. Enabling each and every airman to lead by example no matter their rank by being the best at their job and by committing each day to being better than they were the day before. They’re leading their peers - they're leading those charged with supervising them, and leading those that they are supervising. It’s a 360 degree leadership concept. The environment that we've developed and our leadership teams across the base, are reinforcing that every Airman is valued and understands the value that they add to Team Titan. To me, that's the most critical aspect of my job here.”

Winn: “What can the members of the 39th Air Base Wing look forward to this year?”

Titan 1: “We’re in a stage of operations in this region to where we have been able to allow our Airmen with freedom of movement in the local communities, so we’re going to continue to work with the U.S. Consulate in Adana and our local partners to continue to expand the Airmen’s presence in the communities. This base has been here for over 70 years and the Airmen are entrenched in this community, so it is important for us to be good stewards to our hosts as well as support the communities when possible.”

Following Titan 1’s responses, Titan Chief provided insight for his own interview questions.

Winn: “Good afternoon Chief Stoltzfus. Could you speak on your background experience in the Air Force and what led you to become command chief of the 39th Air Base Wing?”

Titan Chief: “I started off as a civil engineer at Travis Air Force Base. That’s where I met my lovely wife Jess, and from there I had an opportunity to go overseas to PACAF. I was in Okinawa for 13 years separated by one tour in Delaware, Dover, as a civil engineer. Those 13 years is what molded me into who I am and being very mission focused. I then had the opportunity to become a first sergeant which took me from a mission focused individual to understanding the Airman and the strategic picture of the Air Force, bringing a people first and a mission always type of mindset. I did time as the first sergeant in the in the largest maintenance group in United States Air Force at Kadena Air Base. I also spent time in munitions, the logistics readiness squadron, the communications squadron, and finished off with the mighty medics in the medical group. Each one of those opportunities helped me grow as a person to see diversity and understand what each AFSC brings to the fight to make us the world strongest force.”

Winn: “What are some of your top priorities to ensure the support of 39th Air base Wing Airmen?”

Titan Chief: “So when I think of priorities, I think of me as the enlisted advisor to the wing commander, and being the voice for the Titans here on Incirlik. I wouldn't go far from what he had said in his commander’s calls, which are ‘how do we provide support?’ Well leadership provides support through equipment training and the leadership that individuals need to continue to do what they do each day, which is the mission. Sometimes support comes through constructive feedback, timely feedback, and also expectation management. I think if you give expectations early, and often and provide a continual feedback loop that gives them the support they really need to accomplish the mission. In those interactions with your teammates, they can provide you feedback and that is really how they get the support they need from you.”

Winn: “What is your vision for the development of the Airmen?”

Titan Chief: “For me, lining up with Colonel Powell’s three R’s of ready, reliable and responsive, is an acronym that I have called A.C.T, which is providing an environment to have a positive attitude that produces productivity. The first letter is A for ‘attitude,’ teaching them what a real inclusive culture looks like and live in those words. It's called speaking truth to power. I've heard that several times in the past, but ensuring that everybody has equal opportunity for a lesser term to be part of the team and ensuring that nobody gets left behind. What real inclusion looks like to me is that not one person is always getting training opportunities, or not one team is always getting the equipment that they need, so just to build that kind of culture where everybody can feel safe and included is another thing that I want individuals to learn. Lastly, and probably the most important to me is ‘team.’ If we show individuals that have a thirst to be part of a winning team, what that looks like, they can take that on with them for the rest of their career whether it be in the military or outside.. They can understand what a winning team looks like and how you get to that point by having the right attitude and by building a culture of inclusion that equals a productive team. That's what I hope they learn here.”

Finally, both leaders of the command team concluded the interview by providing insight to how they plan to connect with Airmen of the wing.

Titan Chief: “I think the command team that has been here for almost about a month now has done a phenomenal job of ensuring that they do get out there and take time to do the immersions. A wise man once told me, ‘they don't care what you know until I know how much you care.’ I think going out there and being immersed in the units and providing Airmen time to interact with the commander, command chief and vice commander, allows them to see that they matter to us. It seems difficult at times when you get bogged down with tasks, but if you don’t make time for what's important you are going to lose sight of the target and I think the target is our team's well-being.”

Titan 1: “I think through the acts of visible service, of learning, and being aware of the opportunities and needs of each Titan in order to succeed in their core mission. You can only know that by hearing it from them directly, so a very deliberate and consistent presence throughout all of the different units and missions that we have here will help us connect with Airmen and sprint until the end.”