by Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs
2/4/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Fifty-five
chief master sergeant selects from around U.S. Air Forces in Europe and
Air Forces Africa came together to share ideas and engage in discussion
during the week-long Chiefs' Leadership Course at Ramstein Air Base,
Germany Jan. 26-30.
Making the transition from senior master sergeant to chief is more than
an extra stripe and a pay raise, and this course is designed to prepare
them for that step.
The course opened with congratulations from Chief Master Sgt. James E. Davis, USAFE-AFAFRICA command chief.
"There were 479 senior master sergeants notified of promotion out of the
more than 2500 eligible," Davis said. "Fifty-five of you all are here
this morning, and you deserve to be here. And guess what? There are no
tests. No awards. The benefit is you walking away more enriched than
when you came in."
The course focused on the many changes that will occur in the careers of the new chiefs.
"You are going to find that people tend to gravitate toward you," Davis
said "and they are going to want to know what you know. And you have to
make sure you are caught up with the most current events."
Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Tester, 1st Combat Communications Squadron,
explained that the course offered them a perspective that is invaluable
to their development as chiefs.
"Attending a course like this gives us an opportunity to get critical
insight from senior leaders who have experienced the challenges the new
position will bring," said Tester.
While the course offers the attendees a chance to exchange ideas and
learn from senior leaders, it is only a stepping stone to success
according to Tester.
"No course will give you all the answers and prepare you for every
situation you may face," Tester explained. "However, this course
certainly provided the information that will help you make better
decisions for your people and organization."
Senior Master Sgt. Quinton Burris, Armed Forces Network Aviano, walked
away with a piece of information that was new to him, even as a Chief
"Identifying one part as most beneficial is tough," said Burris, "but
something that truly resonated with me is the difference between
information, understanding and knowledge. Information is great but is
available to all. Understanding is the coupling of information with a
personal or tangible experience. And knowledge, well that is the holy
grail of it all that melds the information and understanding into
wisdom, which is developed through time, perseverance and humility."
Many of the chief selects work in units where their direct supervisor is
a field grade officer. So to attendees, like Tester, the chance to
interact with general officers and command chiefs was the biggest
benefit of the course.
"You can read about leadership in a book or get information from Power
Point slides all day," Tester said, "but that will never replace real
life experience. Hearing their perspective and how they dealt with
situations during their careers will help me make better decisions down
Most importantly though, the course taught them how to be a better Airman and a chief you can look up to.
"Being a chief means that your work has just begun," said Burris. "It means I have a debt to pay. I have to pay it forward."