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New wing command chief settles in at Buckley

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Candler takes time to greet Airmen at an enlisted call June 20. Chief Candler took over as the 460th Space Wing command chief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alex Gochnour)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Candler takes time to greet Airmen at an enlisted call June 20. Chief Candler took over as the 460th Space Wing command chief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alex Gochnour)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Whether he is out listening to the troops or continuously running back to ensure everyone completes the Wing Run, the new 460th Space Wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Candler, has "helping and developing others" as his focus. 

"I don't run back because I enjoy running more than others," he said. "I do it because maybe I can connect with that one person that needs a push to overcome a perceived barrier in their mind. It happens to all of us and our wingmen should be there to push us to greater heights." 

Chief Candler recently became the second 460th SW command chief after previously serving as the Noncommissioned Officer Academy commandant at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. 

"Colorado and Buckley Air Force Base are a great place to serve," he said. "Lynne and I are excited beyond belief to be stationed here with such tremendous professionals." 

Over the past few weeks, Chief Candler has taken time to meet people from all over the base. He heard first hand the mission of each section and spoke with the men and women of the 460th SW. 

"I understand what it's like to not be listened to or feel your concerns are falling on deaf ears, so I do my best to listen more than talk when amongst the Airmen," said Chief Candler. 

The chief's efforts did not go unnoticed. 

"He was very professional and personable," said Master Sgt. Sabre Alderete, 460th Medical Group first sergeant. "He took the time to listen to each and every person and truly gave his undivided attention to everyone, from the lowest ranking Airman to the highest ranking officer." 

Chief Candler also took time to listen to advice from Chief Master Sgt. Rene Simard who recently retired from the position. 

"Chief Simard's basic theme was taking care of the Airmen," Chief Candler repeated. "Get out to meet them, listen more than talk, and take their concerns as your priorities. I can see why he was such a terrific leader for the wing and community." 

Besides taking care of the Airmen, Chief Candler's other priorities were simply stated. "My priorities as the 460th Space Wing command chief will align with those of Col. (David) Ziegler and our Air Force senior leadership," he said. "Recapitalizing our Air Force, taking care of our Airmen, and fighting the Global War on Terrorism will guide many of the initiatives set forth." 

In regards to the Global War on Terrorism, this September marks the 5th anniversary of 9/11 and Chief Candler reminds everyone to remain vigilant. 

"We are all sensors and defenders when the time arises and should be prepared for that duty," he said. "We should never forget why we are here...the defense of this great nation and our families ... and that requires being on your guard 24/7/365." 

As for his expectations of the enlisted members of the 460th SW, Chief Candler refers to those listed in Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure. He said, "the young Airmen should strive to be the best in their career field. Be both good followers and leaders, depending
upon the need at the time. 

"Get involved in the base and local community, all in an effort to provide you leadership opportunities and a greater understanding of what being a member of the Air Force team truly represents." Chief Candler also emphasized Airmen should always be prepared for deployment; "it is our profession." 

For the junior NCOs, Chief Candler said they should continue to master the skills of their profession and remain Air Expeditionary Force ready. In dealing with subordinates he said they should be firm but fair. 

"Relish the responsibility of developing our young Airmen to replace you," Chief Candler said. "Serve as a role model for others to emulate. Get to know your Airmen in an effort to be a better supervisor and wingman." 

The chief sums up the role of the senior NCO as, "Airmen, Airmen, Airmen." he describes it as passing the baton from the Airman's parents to the senior NCO. 

"They expect us to protect their sons and daughters, along with preparing and developing them," he said. "We should strategically push all Airmen
outside their comfort zone. That way, they'll be ready to lead our Air Force into the future." 

As with all successful leaders, Chief Candler gives credit to many people who have helped him throughout his career, from sergeants, to chiefs and colonels. 

"Each of us can learn and grow from someone lower in rank just as much as those higher in rank," he said. "All of us are mentors, we just have to embrace that responsibility and take the time to make a positive impact. Pushing someone to a level they didn't believe they could achieve is the greatest satisfaction as a leader. Go out and do it!"