By Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams, 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 19, 2014
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: As a new college graduate, I decided to join because I thought I would learn more during my first three-year commitment than I would in any other professional setting. I really had no intention of staying for a full career, rather just hoping to jump-start my professional life and see where that took me. All these years later, I couldn't be happier with my decision. As for why I stay, it is our junior enlisted and officer personnel that keep me excited to come to work everyday. The responsibilities these great patriots are entrusted with everyday at such a young age simply can't be matched anywhere else on the globe. It is amazing to see!
Q: What is one of your proudest achievements in your military career?
A: I really don't spend much time looking back or reflecting on the past, I stay focused on the future and the opportunities that lie ahead. I have no doubt that my proudest achievements are to be found in the coming months in what this great team of medics are set to accomplish.
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: Yes, the current Maj. Gen. Bart Iddins, 59th Medical Wing commander, influenced me more than any other, and still does today. We worked together three times and, on each occasion, he pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits. When working for him, I felt like a more capable Airman when I departed from work, compared to when I reported that morning. That experience drives me to this day. I try to get a little better everyday, professionally, intellectually, physically, somehow - and don't let precious time go to waste. I hope to instill the same in others. I'd love to have the chance to work with him again.
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: My watershed moment came after about a year on active duty. Up to that point, I was singularly focused on being good in the technical aspects of my job. I don't think I was a bad officer; I just didn't value it as strongly, a common feature in many young professionals. One day, my supervisor mentioned that I was being nominated for a quarterly award. I protested vigorously. I wasn't interested, I didn't have time to provide input for the write-up - I tried every angle to get out of it, to no avail. At this base, physical boards were required and I was terrified of embarrassing myself. So, with fear as my sole motivation (not thirst for achievement or greatness), I went all in and I prepared like there was no tomorrow. I solicited the help of Senior NCOs to prep me for the process, I memorized and rehearsed my opening statement, and I studied current events - I was ready. I felt great about my results and was fortunate enough to win the quarterly award. In retrospect, it really was a relatively small thing, but it was the undeniable spark of motivation that made me embrace the Air Force a little closer and hope to grow into a better officer.
Q: What is your personal mission statement?
A: Get better everyday and never let time waste away.
Q: What values and ethics are the most important you, and what do you expect from your Airmen?
A: Our Air Force core values really guide everything we do and I haven't come up with anything that hits the mark any better. If we all follow those values, we'll be in good shape. The one thing that I do hold dear is candid communication with everyone - supervisors, subordinates, peers, patients, and customers. I try to speak candidly and I sincerely desire the same in return from those I work with.
Q: What is your strategic vision for your organization?
A: To be the best Medical Group in the Air Force...that's all.
Q: What are your leadership goals as a commander while here at Incirlik?
A: All Hodja Medics are privileged to contribute to the mission of the world's most powerful Air Force, our great nation and this great installation. The 39th Medical Group will never lose sight that our work is of immeasurable value to this base, our customers, and our patients' quality and quantity of life. Everyone places a great deal of trust in our knowledge, professionalism, and expertise. We must always conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of this trust. My goal for the Medical Group is to maintain the trust and confidence of every person and each unit on this base.
Q: What are some of your expectations for the Airmen you lead, and why?
A: Simply stated, to do their best every day. No leader or commander can realistically ask anything more of their team, nor should they settle for anything less. If we all bring our "A Game" to work each morning, the mission will be well in hand. Providing medical care to those of us who call Incirlik AB home is simply too important for anything less.
Q: What are your mission expectations from the units you lead?
A: It's pretty simple really, fully support the Air Base Wing's mission and priorities, take great care of our patients and customers and take care of each other.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: I am currently preparing to participate in IRONMAN Western Australia on December, 7, 2014. If you see me collapsed on the side of the road between now and then, please be kind enough to pause my Garmin.