Meet your leadership: 39th CPTS Commander, Maj. Mishaun Smith

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The 39th Air Base Wing units and Geographically Separated Units are led by hand-picked commanders located throughout Turkey. This series of features gives an inside look at those leaders and their leadership style. This feature highlights the 39th Comptroller Squadron Commander, Maj. Mishaun Smith.

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

Answer: I decided to come to the Air Force for financial reasons initially.  I was struggling to pay for college and in my junior year I was getting worn down from the struggle.  I continue to serve because of the pride the Air Force has instilled in me as well as the financial and career stability.  I love being an Airman!  I never saw this being my life prior to signing up for Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps when I was 20 years old, but now I cannot see my life any other way.  I am very proud to serve my country in such a rewarding capacity.

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

A: One of my proudest achievements has been having the opportunity to command so early in my career.  Command was something I prayed I got the opportunity to experience one day, but I always thought it would be much later down the road.  I am so honored to have been given this opportunity.

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 say the leader who has influenced me the most is Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Alfred Flowers.  I had the opportunity to work with him twice in my career.  He influenced me most by encouraging me to keep going.  I was at a point in my career, when I was ready to let one situation and one person adversely influence my future serving in the Air Force.  He was not in my chain of command, but took the time to call me in by name to give me the one-on-one mentoring I so desperately needed at the time.  What he taught me about pushing forward and looking beyond my current situation was not only great leadership advice, but also life advice.  I have never been happier that I stayed to see what was on the other side of that very temporary circumstance.  Now I provide that same guidance to Airmen who I encounter in similar situations.  Sometimes you just need to be reminded that the rain doesn't last forever.

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: I wouldn't say it was a significant challenge as much as it was a realization, which really led to my maturation as a leader.  When I was a junior Capt. and flight commander, I made the decision to separate from the Air Force once my current assignment was complete.  I had met a force shaping board a couple times and felt it was my time to go.  Right before I began the process for separation, a deployment tasking came down for me.  My initial reaction was to not accept because I was already in the process of separating.  After a couple days of thinking about it, I thought about all my Airmen and peers I had seen off to deployments and how I had encouraged them and let them know how proud I was of them and how they were going to make a difference.  I really had to sit down and remind myself that accepting or not accepting the deployment was not about me and my plans.  The deployment was about me stepping up and setting the example that could make a difference in how an Airman will view leadership and what they are told by leaders for the rest of his or her career.  Those ideals made me proud to take the deployment. Of course, in hindsight I am very happy I did because I changed my mind about separating later down the road.  That experience taught me to be more careful with decision making as a leader because I never know how it could be impacting another Airman.

Q: What is your personal mission statement?

A: My personal mission statement is "Believe...and all things are possible."

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

A: I value honesty, fairness, always giving your best and looking out for fellow Airmen.   I expect my Airmen to always display these characteristics.  I also expect them to uphold the core values and adhere to the expectations of the rank and responsibility the Air Force has entrusted them with.

Q: What is your strategic vision for your organization?

A: To provide world-class customer service to the men and women of the 39th Air Base Wing and to provide decision support to all wing leadership regarding the responsible execution of the funds that the taxpayers have entrusted us to use responsibly to accomplish the mission.

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

A:  My biggest goal is to leave the 39th Comptroller Squadron better than I found it.  The squadron was in good shape when I got here, so I want to improve the areas I believe need improvement and leave an even better squadron to the next commander.  I want the morale to be higher, I want the Airmen to be more knowledgeable and developed, I want the squadron to be sharper and be ready at any time for anything.

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

A: I expect my Airmen to be Airmen.  I have observed that sometimes it seems that our Airmen forget that we work for the Air Force, not a typical 9 to 5 job.  We all signed up for military service.  We signed up to be held at a higher standard.  We signed up to work longer and harder if that is what the mission requires.  We signed up to be Airmen.  I expect for my Airmen to understand what comes with being an Airman in the U.S. Air Force and always carry themselves in that manner.

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

A: My mission expectations are for my unit to know, understand, and take pride in our role as a supporting unit to those who directly carry out and protect the wing's mission.  If they understand and are proud of where we fit into the overall picture and how what we do is important to making the wing's mission happen, then I believe that our strategic mission will be carried out to the best of their ability and we will be successful.

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

A: I am really enjoying my time here in Turkey working with awesome people and taking care of such an important mission.  This will truly be an assignment that I will not forget.  I would like to thank the men and women of the 39th CPTS and Wing Staff Agencies for the hard work and support they give every day as well as everyone in the 39th ABW that supports the Airmen in our units.