Meet your Leadership: 425th ABS commander, Lt. Col. John Thomas

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
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 425th Air Base Squadron commander, Lt. Col. John Thomas.

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

Answer: I grew up surrounded by the Air Force and its way of life. My dad served in the Air Force, and later in the Oregon Air National Guard. I enjoyed it all so much that I honestly didn't consider doing anything else. In fact, I kept getting asked "what is your alternate choice?" when seeking admission to the Air Force Academy and the question confused me...why would I want to go somewhere else? I continue to serve because I love what I do. I am proud of what the Air Force has accomplished in its 67 years. And I am proud to be a part of that tradition serving alongside this amazing group of men and women.

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

A: Unfortunately, I cannot discuss my absolute proudest moment. My proudest achievement, however, is taking command of the 425th ABS and getting the chance to serve with the outstanding men and women of Team Izmir. My hope is that each and every Airman seizes the opportunities presented to them and forges several proud moments throughout their career. Those moments make the whole journey worth the sacrifices that each of you make for your country every day. Thank you for all that you have done and will accomplish in the future.

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 have two. The first is my dad. As mentioned earlier, I grew up in the Air Force and watched him lead throughout his career. I saw what he did, I saw how people respected him and reacted to him, I saw how he handled situations and made decision, and most of all I learned my values from him. The second is Col. "T-Dub" Frollini. I met him at Randolph Air Force Base when we trained together as instructors. Shortly after graduation he became the director of operations, and then the Commander of the squadron. He was an excellent leader and mentor, and he was firmly grounded in reality; something many of my previous commanders were missing. He helped me get on the right vector, and I have kept in touch with him throughout my career for advice and mentorship.

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 cannot think of a single moment right now, but I certainly learned what NOT to do from several commanders during my early years. I have always strived to internalize the good leadership examples and file the bad ones away to reflect on (and avoid) when challenges present themselves.

Q: What is your personal mission statement?

A: "Do the right thing." The Air Force and all of the other services and companies around the world have an endless well of slogans and statements, but they all end up trying to achieve the same goal: do the right thing. Integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do is a given if we just do the right thing. If you deviate from that mindset, you will almost certainly violate any other slogan or mission statement you live by.

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

A: Integrity, Selfless Service, Excellence in Actions, Loyalty, Respect and Personal Courage. I expect my Airmen to uphold the Air Force core values at a minimum.

Q: What is your strategic vision for your organization?

A: To support the Wing Commander's strategic vision by making this the best squadron in USAFE.

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

A: To ensure that every Airman knows what is expected of them and accomplishes those goals/tasks, that they are taken care of personally and professionally, and that the 425th never falters from its mission of providing world-class support to NATO LANDCOM and the 39th ABW.

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

A: I expect my Airman to get the mission done, safely. I expect good personal and job discipline. And, I expect tactical loyalty...personal loyalty is earned. Why? Because at the end of the day we need to accomplish the mission in a disciplined manner through an organized chain of command.

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

A: I expect my Airmen to understand our mission, fully support NATO LANDCOM, accomplish this with all of the traits and philosophies already mentioned above, and ask for assistance or clarification if they are unsure about anything related to our mission execution or goals.

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

A: Happy 67th Birthday Air Force!