Former CMSAF offers USAFE Airmen words of wisdom

by Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Fifth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, Robert D. Gaylor visited Ramstein Sept. 6 through 10 offering words of wisdom to Airmen along the way.

Chief Gaylor’s primary reason for his trip was to speak at the non-commissioned officer’s graduation ceremony class 2010-7, but he also wanted to maximize his time with U.S. Air Forces in Europe Airmen.

“I enjoy speaking with Airmen,” Chief Gaylor said. “I am attempting to give back to a profession that gave so much to me. It’s simply a passion for the Air Force way of life. I feel it inside and it draws me in. I enjoy being a part of the force.”

After retiring from his 31-year-long career in 1979, Chief Gaylor has spent the last 31 years sharing advice and experiences to Airmen that may help them in their career.

“One message I like to share is to try and attempt to define where it is you are trying to go both in your professional and social life,” the Bellevue, Iowa, native said. “I ask them to ask themselves, what is your purpose, what is your reason, why do you do what you do and then prepare yourself to do that.”

He explained that understanding your expectations aids in the success of your own goals while understanding how to adjust to the situation.

“I think the key word now in the Air Force is resilience,” the chief said. “Resilience and adaptability are critical in today’s environment and Airmen really have to be prepared while being flexible.”

Although adapting to available resources ensures mission effectiveness, support is another crucial element.

The chief noted, there are two different kinds of support: emotional and hands-on.

“Saying ‘Thank you for serving, you’re doing a great job’ is emotional support and there is no shortage of that,” he added. “The other type of support is hands-on, providing more resources, better training and more equipment. That’s the kind of support we now need. We need everyone to come together for the same cause.”

Although there are different kinds of support, the most visible and crucial may be the support of servicemembers’ families.

“My wife and children were most critical in my Air Force career,” the chief said. “I think there needs to be an understanding of the servicemember’s obligation. If there are mysteries in the family and unspoken things, it can lead to difficulty.”

He also expressed the criticality of open communication and understanding of the servicemembers way of life and how it is vital to their relationships.

“We just celebrated Year of the Air Force Family … but every year should be the year of the family,” he said. “It should be every year because they are as important in the total picture as the military members themselves.” While every person in the Air Force community plays an important role in a successful mission, Chief Gaylor still supports his wingmen by offering advice from prior experience and an impressive Air Force career.