CMSgt Skibitsky: Habitual optimist

The 86th Airlift Wing’s new command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Hope L. Skibitsky, is no stranger to leadership. She arrived in August from her previous position at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. as the 27th Special Operations Wing command chief.

As the 86th AW command chief, Skibitsky will be integral to the success of the wing by filling the role of senior enlisted advisor to the commander in matters that pertain to training, development, readiness and mission effectiveness.

During an interview with the Armed Forces Network Kaiserslautern last month, Skibitsky reflected on her move, support from the Ramstein team, and how it provided an insight to helping Airmen here.

“Everyone knows that a (permanent change of station) can be stressful, but a PCS overseas can be twice as stressful,” said Skibitsky. “Our teammates and wingmen did a good job taking care of me. (During) quarantine you’re powerless, a lot of people have to take care of you, so there is a lot of vulnerability.”

There’s strength in that vulnerability — it builds teamwork. I will tell you that it built a lot of empathy to know what struggles Airmen have because I have gone through it, said Skibitsky.

Though this is Skibitsky’s first time at Ramstein Air Base, she is familiar with service overseas and the challenges it brings. Her reaction to the challenge of moving overseas, especially during a worldwide pandemic, highlights one of her strongest traits and a large part of her personal approach to the unknown.

“I’m a habitual optimist,” said Skibitsky. “If you walk into somewhere looking for the suck that’s what you’re going to find, and that’s an awful way to live. I’m always looking for the (positive). Throw it at me I’m going to find the good in it.”

While settling into her position alongside Brig. Gen. Joshua M. Olson, 86th AW commander, Skibitsky aims to continue building a professional climate for the members of Ramstein Air Base.

She says there are many things she hopes to tackle during her tenure as command chief, but one enduring theme will be connecting with Airmen.

“My favorite part of being in this position is people want to talk – they love to talk – and I love to listen,” said Skibitsky. “I just want to see us get after the mission and do it while we are taking care of the Airmen and their families.”