Meet your leadership: 39th SFS Commander, Lt. Col. Joseph Musacchia

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  • By Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams
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The 39th Air Base Wing units are led by hand-picked commanders here and at geographically-separated groups and squadrons across the region. This series of features gives an inside look at those leaders and their leadership style. This feature highlights the 39th Security Forces Squadron Commander, Lt. Col. Joseph Musacchia.

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

Answer:  My Uncle Luke Catalanatto and my Grandfather Joseph J. Musacchia were big influences in my life.  They were the only other members of my family to wear the uniform.  My grandfather showed me that hard work and dedication to something pays off.  My Uncle Luke is one of the most intelligent men I know and he would have made a lot of money if that would have been his goal, but he dedicated his life to being an educator.  I asked him when I was young why he made that decision.  He said, "because a life of service to your fellow man and making a positive impact on people's lives is worth so much more than the size of your bank account."  Both of these men told me a career in the military was a great fit for me and my Grandfather Joe told me the Air Force was the service for me.  They were both right.  That is why I joined and still serve today.  I am living a life of service and I get to have a positive impact on countless people's lives.

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

A:  That is a very hard question to answer, because I have been blessed with many achievements that I am proud of, and proud to have been part of a team to achieve unbelievable things. That is why I love being a part of the world's most powerful and respected Air, Space and Cyber Space Force.  We achieve amazing things every day and I get to do it as a member of the world's most respected ground defense force...the United States Air Force Security Forces.  I have moments I will always cherish and be proud of and I look forward to have many more.

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:  The list is long because I have been honored to serve with some outstanding leaders and each and every one of them affected the way I lead.  I gleaned something from each of them and use what I've learned from them when the situation warrants it.  Early in my career I tried hard to emulate a certain leadership style, but quickly learned changing myself to fit a leadership style was not the right way to go.  I was influenced by these leaders in many ways, but they were from all different situations.  I learned that different situations call for different leadership styles.  I take the good I learned from these leaders and apply it when and where I think it warrants application.  It seems to work!

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:  Yes, I do have a moment.  I was facing a very tough challenge during an assignment.  My commander was 'difficult'.  The assignment and work environment made me consider resigning my commission and taking a position in federal law enforcement.  Then the watershed moment occurred. I was in the final phase of acceptance with the agency and that month I was going to inform leadership of my decision to leave the Air Force.  Then two planes flew into the twin towers, one into the Pentagon and one into a field in Pennsylvania.  On Sept. 12, 2011 I informed the agency I was applying to that I was staying in the Air Force because I knew where my service was needed and I had troops who needed my leadership. Things came into focus for me and I was reminded of why I joined the USAF.

Q: What is your personal mission statement?

A:  Don't make excuses, make things happen...any action is better than inaction.

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

A:  The core values of the Air Force are what I live by, but loyalty is the most important to me.  I give loyalty to my fellow Airmen, my peers, my superiors and I expect it from my Airmen.  Together, we can accomplish anything.

Q: What is your strategic vision for your organization?

A:  To harness the power of technology and innovation within the squadron to deliver a safe, secure, operational ground platform, from which we can project our air power.

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

A:  I was selected to lead one of the best squadrons I have ever had the honor of commanding in my career.  I have the best Airmen I have ever encountered in this squadron.  My goal is to continue to demonstrate that we are the best at what we do and can prove it again and again with whatever challenge is thrown at us and then get these outstanding Airmen the recognition they deserve.  My goal is to never rest on our accomplishments and continue to accomplish what others think is not possible.

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

A:  For my Airmen it is dedication...dedication to the mission, the squadron, the group and the 39th Air Base Wing.  Our mission set is often mundane, with long hours, in less than pleasant circumstances.  You have to have dedication to maintain the 'laser like' focus required of the security forces.  Ultimately, we, as Security Forces, are asked to manage chaos, be it in the law enforcement aspect of our mission or base defense aspect.  We have to swing along the spectrum of integrated defense.  You have to be dedicated to make that happen and ready to react to anything and everything.  My expectation of my defenders is to be dedicated to the task at hand and always be ready.

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

A:  I have 'combat priorities' for my defender Airmen.  These priorities help us accomplish our mission in every unit I have commanded and especially here at the 39 SFS.

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

A:  I am getting to live a dream commanding this unit.  I reported into the 39 SFS 16 years ago as 2nd Lt. Musacchia, I was promoted to 1st Lt. in the very conference room that I now sit at the head of the table.  I feel like the student-teacher who has come back to be the principal of the high school where I learned my trade.  Incirlik has shaped me personally and professionally.  I am the officer I am today because of the 39th ABW.  To return here and have the opportunity to give back, to lead this outstanding squadron of defenders and to shape the future leaders of the Air Force is a career high point for me.  I get to sit in the office I was afraid to walk into when I was a young officer. Sometimes I expect my former commander, Lt. Col. Conover, to come in at any minute and tell me to "get out of his chair and get back on the road."  Every day I walk into work at this squadron, I am grateful for the gift the Air Force has given me.