Chief's return to tradition is 'investment in Airmen'
By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 03, 2014
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- To answer questions before four decorated chief master sergeants or high-ranking officers is tough, but to do it in a competition against the best the wing has to offer - that's a whole other level of pressure.
However, that is exactly the type of challenge that defines a 460th Space Wing annual award winner. After exacting uniform inspections and cramming the 500-page Professional Development Guide, representatives from each group have a chance to compete before the board for the right to be called the year's best Airman.
"These boards provide us opportunities as senior leaders to see who our superstars are across the wing; each one of these individuals who are meeting the board are the best from our groups," explained Chief Master Sgt. Craig Hall, 460th SW command chief.
"It's a win-win for both of us. We get to see these folks from a front-row seat, and they get the opportunity to represent themselves, their groups and their squadrons and really let us know who they are," the command chief said.
For Tech. Sgt. Gregory Whittet, 460th Mission Support Group NCO category annual award nominee, this is a chance to articulate his written award package and showcase his specific accomplishments to the board. It is also an opportunity for him to see his equally deserving 460th SW members get a chance to be highlighted for all the hard work they do every day.
"I believe as an NCO, we need to take the time to recognize our Airmen that don't just come to work and earn a paycheck," Whittet said. "We want to take the time and recognize our Airmen that have a huge impact on the Air Force mission. I'm talking about the individuals that step up to the plate every day, day in and day out, and tackle the hard tasks that are put before them."
The chief saw this board process as a chance to bring additional legitimacy to the awards program and get back to the roots that shaped him into the chief he is today.
"This is something that I did as a younger Airman, and I just knew the goodness that comes with it," Hall stated. "It's turning back the clock and bringing back some old traditions. I think this makes us stronger as a wing."
While the board process gives members a greater connection to their awards packages, it also provides Airmen with an opportunity to build camaraderie and get more face time with senior leaders from across the base, the chief said.
Competitors may end up being evaluated by more than 80 years of experience before the board process is over, but board member Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna summed up the board's opinion of the old tradition as "an investment in our Airmen" - an investment that will designate each year's best Airmen.