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September Chief's Concerns

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Brunson, a human resource advisor with Joint Forces Headquadrters at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for his official portrait August 10, 2013.   (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Brunson, a human resource advisor with Joint Forces Headquadrters at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for his official portrait August 10, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- Just recently, a fellow Chief Master Sergeant asked what departing words of wisdom I would give an Airman desiring to know how they could one day get to be a Chief. After some thoughts and reflections, I concluded, I did not get to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant on my own, but rather through the collective efforts of family, friends, mentors and good leadership. There is no magic formula on the road to a rank that makes up less than two percent of the enlisted force. Over the course of my career I have realized the common thread to my success and the success of others. Physical Training, Professional Military Education, core values and job performance are important but there is more. I call them the three C's: communication, change and caring. It is these three C's that serve as the foundation of my success.

The first is communication. During a professional military education class, retired Col. Richard Noble addressed the group. One of the things he told us is that communication will be one of our biggest challenges, and as leaders we must always work to avoid communication shortfalls. Throughout my career, communication has been essential. It involves all aspects of the job, from general conversations to important briefings. Most successful leaders will tell you it is critical to their success.

Communication alone is not enough. Almost every military member is familiar with change. However, it is how a person adapts to change that makes the difference. Accepting tasks and responsibilities out of your comfort zone, being a positive change agent, making the best of change, and helping others adjust to change are traits of a leader.

The third C is the foundation for the first two. The third C is caring. To quote author John C. Maxwell, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." Other terms for this important trait are mentoring and wingmanship. Regardless of the term used, it is essential for anyone that desires to be a Chief Master Sergeant. Help develop and mentor, not only the individuals in your immediate circle, but outside your circle as well. Genuinely get to know them. Show how much you care. Help them to be ready, relevant, responsible and resilient. In one word...Care!

McEntire Joint National Guard Base is not great because of the state-of-the-art jets, the latest in aircraft maintenance technology, the modern dining facility or the cutting-edge air traffic control tower looking over every corner of the base. What make this one of the finest organizations are the people; the men and women, past and present, which did not and will not settle for mediocrity, but instead strive for excellence. It's the men and women that employ the three C's.

So there you have it, communication, change, and caring. Traits that past and present leaders of the South Carolina Air National Guard possess. Traits embedded into the rich tradition of the SCANG. Traits that are necessary for anyone desiring to join the rank that represents less than two percent of the enlisted force. So in departing, make these traits a habit and part of your very existence. Maybe one day "I'll see you at the top".