by Airman 1st Class Ryan Conroy
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/29/2014 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Chief
Master Sgt. Mark Marson, 3rd Air Force Command Chief, spoke with
enlisted Airmen, stressing key leadership characteristics during his
visit here, Jan. 24-25.
Marson visited with Aviano Airmen, applauding their efforts during
financially troubling times and providing guidance on management through
Throughout the day, the 3rd AF top enlisted member met with Aviano NCOs
and Senior NCOs, an Airman Leadership School class and spoke during a
chief recognition ceremony.
Marson preached a common theme to each group of Airmen, which associated the Air Force way of life to common sports euphemisms.
"We're like a baseball team," said Marson. "Right now, everyone is on
the team, we're all professionals. But, some players get paid more and
some are used more often than others. Not everyone can be the pitcher,
but it's vital everyone works together to be successful. Who's willing
to work hard enough to stay and become a franchise player? Everyone
needs to get in their lane and figure out what position they play so we
can remain the world's greatest Air Force."
To stay on the team during present times of force management, Marson
introduced several significant characteristics found in every leader.
These qualities included exceptional fitness, strategic communication,
resiliency, critical thinking and mentorship.
"You have to be that standout, charismatic, standup Airman with a
ready-to-serve attitude, not ready to be served," Marson added.
Marson suggested that most problems within the ranks could be solved with an intrusive leadership ideology.
"You can solve 75 percent of problems--suicide, sexual assault,
financial instability --with great leadership," said Marson. "We need
bold leaders who lead from ahead, be invasive and talk to your Airmen
In regards to fitness, Marson stressed a combat-readiness mentality for
supervisors, to further take care of wingmen in the height of conflict.
"If one of you are injured and need someone to carry you out of harm's
way, I will be there for you," said Marson. "I expect you to be there
for me as well, to have the physical capability to get me out of
The command chief, in turn, emphasized that Airmen who lack in certain
core areas should be working on their weaknesses. When addressing the
group future NCO attending ALS, Marson quoted former Chief Master Sgt.
of the Air Force, Sam Parish.
"Always reserve the right to return another day," said Marson. "Envision
your personal standards as railroad ties and one tie is physical
fitness, one is education, one is work ethic, etcetera. Your discipline
is the rail. You have to ensure those rails stay straight for your
"If you struggle on one of your standards, or feel like one is less
important than the other, now is the time to change that, before it's
too late," added Marson. "You need to respect the fact that Airmen
emulate their supervision, be a model of your values."