Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Leadership link: Command chief connects with Airmen

by Senior Airman Sarah Hall-Kirchner
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/19/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- In 1985 President Ronald Reagan was sworn in for a second term in office; a joint American-French expedition located the Titanic; and NASA launched nine space shuttle missions.

It was also the year 17-year-old Victoria Gamble enlisted into the Air Force. Today, she has spent more than 28 years in the military--10 of those as a chief.

The Air Mobility Command command chief joined the Air Force straight out of high school. Recruiters from each service came to her high school and the Air Force recruiter stood out.

"I decided I would look pretty good in blue," Gamble said.

Since putting on the blue uniform, Gamble said she has experienced opportunities that have motivated her to stay in the military, but she has also learned from her mistakes as well.

"Latch onto a good, positive example of an Airman and learn everything you can from him or her," she said. "I was more concerned with making friends when I came in, and I needed to be more concerned with finding people who represented what an Airman should be."

Airmen are part of Gamble's job. She is a conduit between Gen. Paul Selva, AMC commander, and the Airmen. She relays how Airmen feel about missions, policies and procedures to him and conveys Selva's message to all AMC units.

Communicating is an important part of Gamble's job. She wants all members of the military to know that it is part of their job, too.

"In rising Airmen, I wish I saw better communication skills. I wish I saw that at all levels, up, down, and laterally. I don't think anyone has it exactly right, and we all have room for improvement."

She stressed that Airmen, across the ranks, must remember they are Airmen first, especially in today's social media environment.

"When I first came in we didn't put any information out," said Gamble. "There were no computers or email. There was a big board with two pegs and it listed all of the announcements. We did real roll calls. Everyone lined up and was inspected. Then leadership read all of the announcements to us. They told you when your appointments were."

With all of the ways available to communicate, she stressed that every action we take has consequences. We need to think of those consequences with everything we post on social media.

"We have to be strategic Airmen," Gamble said. "I'm not talking about laying out a war plan, but be strategic as far as social media goes. A lot of things are posted that shouldn't be posted."

The things people should be communicating, said Gamble, are the good things the Air Force does every day to carry out the mission. Each person contributes to the mission, and those are the things that should be posted to social media, not people's dirty laundry. You don't have to be Public Affairs to share good information on the web.

"It comes back to our first core value--integrity first. It's doing the right thing even when no one is looking ... especially when no one is looking."

There is a way to change the negative attention the military is getting on social media, Gamble said. It's by focusing on being a positive strategic Airman rather than a negative one.

"Airmen should spend time posting the good things that they do to support the mission on social media," said Gamble, because Airmen are doing great things every day.
Social media isn't the only issue facing the military today. Many Airmen have communicated their anxiety over force management programs.

"I know people are worried about all the changes the Air Force is undergoing," said Gamble. "This isn't the first time we've seen changes, and it isn't going to be the last time we are going to see major changes. What it takes to get through all of these programs is leadership, from every level. We have to lead through the changes and make good decisions."

Social media guidelines

Air Force Social Media Rules of Engagement, located in Air Force Instruction 35-113, chapter 15

· All Airmen must abide by certain restrictions to ensure good order and discipline. All actions on and off duty are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

· Airmen should use their best judgment, remembering that there are always consequences to what is written and all Airmen will take direct responsibility for what they post online.

· Do not post any defamatory, libelous, vulgar, obscene, abusive, profane, threatening, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise offensive or illegal information or material.

· Do not post any information or other material protected by copyright without permission of the copyright owner.

· Do not use any words, logos or other marks that would infringe upon the trademark, service mark, certification mark or other intellectual property rights of the owners of such marks without the permission of such owners.

· Do not post classified or sensitive information.

· Do not post any information that would infringe upon the proprietary, privacy or personal rights of others.

· Do not forge or otherwise manipulate identifiers in posts in an attempt to disguise, impersonate, or otherwise misrepresent their identity or affiliation with any other person or entity.

· Identify to readers of a personal social media site or post that the views expressed are yours alone and that they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Air Force. Use a disclaimer such as: "the postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent Air Force positions, strategies or opinions."

· Airmen discussing issues related to their career field or personal experiences is acceptable, but they should not discuss areas of expertise for which they have no first-hand, direct background or knowledge.

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