COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --
Senior enlisted leaders from across Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, attended a summit Nov. 6-7 to learn from one another and to discuss and dissect issues facing Schriever Airmen and how best to tackle them.
Chief Master Sgt. Boston Alexander, 50th Space Wing command chief and host of the event, charged each senior noncommissioned officer in attendance to be bold leaders, and to focus on taking care of their Airmen, the Air Force’s most valuable weapon system.
“It’s up to you as senior enlisted leaders to charge that weapon system,” he said. “It’s about being eyeball to eyeball with your Airmen and communicating with them and understanding them.Be the kind of leaders to these Airmen that you’d want for the most important people in your life.”
The event consisted of information briefs, as well as panels filled with subject matter experts from various base helping agencies, to squadron commanders and junior enlisted Airmen. The SNCOs were able to openly discuss shortfalls and concerns with members of the panels, and work together to determine the best ways forward.
“Making connections with other [senior enlisted leaders] sitting in key positions is probably one of the most important takeaways from these types of events,” said Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Voorhees, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron superintendent. “Connections with the junior enlisted tier and things that are impacting their work centers or quality of life is another, possibly more important, takeaway for those of us who sit in key positions because things that are impacting their ability to execute on a daily basis doesn’t always make it to us for action.”
Attendees learned some of the intricacies and unique challenges space Airmen can face regularly, and also had the opportunity to have an expectation management conversation directly with the wing commander.
“This group has the unique ability to connect with all of our Airmen both up and down the chain,” said Col. James Smith, 50th SW commander. “I’m looking forward to the ideas you all come up with to strengthen those connections, protect our mission so we can project space effects now and well into the future.”
The junior enlisted airmen panel garnered the most positive feedback as they provided candid accounts of what they are looking for from their leaders, what their leaders are doing well and how they could improve.
“These Airmen are smarter and more articulate than any of us were at that time in our careers,” Alexander said. “If we want to continue to have the best Airmen, to be the best Air Force and the best nation in the world, this is where we invest our time and our energy – into these Airmen.”
Each iteration of the summit has included more Team Schriever members, and Alexander said he has already started his plans for the next summit, stressing the importance of SNCO’s learning from one another to grow Airmen and continue to bolster the lethality of the space mission.
“We are the absolute best at what we do, and our adversaries know it,” he said. “I am proud, honored and humbled to serve with each of you.”