ANG Command Chief Visits the Idaho Air National Guard
By Senior Master Sgt. Joshua,, 124th Fighter Wing
/ Published September 20, 2021
GOWEN FIELD, Idaho—The Idaho Air National Guard hosted Command Chief Master of the Air National Guard Maurice L. Williams here September 11, 2021.
Williams’ visit landed on the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but that didn’t stop him from engaging with Airmen across all levels. His initial event was an all-call that was tailored to meet COVID-19 restrictions while engaging with Airmen across the installation.
“My main focus while visiting any unit is the Airmen,” said Williams. “We as leaders want to know what our members are feeling at the lowest level. You will hear me say that our junior Airmen of today will be our leaders of tomorrow. It is my duty as the senior enlisted leader of this great organization to get the true pulse.”
Working his way around the installation he met briefly with senior leaders from the IDANG and 124th Fighter Wing before spending the bulk of his day with the junior enlisted from throughout the organization.
One question a large number of Airmen wanted to know was how they can set themselves up for success through professional development. This is a question Williams said he loved and that when Airmen are asking these types of questions that there is a desire there.
He went on to identify how to seek this success.
“First, I will tell you that professional development should start right within your units and wings,” said Williams. “If your senior enlisted leader, wing command chief, or state command chief don’t have programs in place for development then it is your responsibility to go to them and request that.”
Having established programs isn’t always an option for Airmen.
“In order to be successful with professional development, you must seek out the opportunities,” Williams went on to say. “There are lots of education opportunities online such as SEJPME I/II, DSCA and FEMA courses. Your HRAs in your Wing are trained to teach Emotional Intelligence, Unconscious Bias, etc. Visit the NGB/HRT SharePoint site and review the Enlisted Development Opportunities.”
Success isn’t relegated to just professional development, Williams provided tips on how Guardsmen can excel long-term in the ANG.
“First and foremost, what I always tell Airmen is be the best Airmen that you can be,” exclaimed Williams. “What do I mean by that is no matter what AFSC you hold, whether it be Red Horse, Services, or COMM be the best and smartest person in that job.”
He went on to identify three things’ Airmen can put in their tool box, things that will not only benefit them in the military, but also in their personal life.
“Number 1, invest in yourself,” said Williams. “No one is going to take care of you but you! Make sure that you do the things that make you happy, give you peace, and benefits you mentally, spiritually and physically.”
He went to explain the second tool, “Monitor your circle. Surround yourself with people that are going to encourage you and pour into you. Your circle should be made up of people that are going to take off your plate rather than put more on your plate. Place people in your life that are going to challenge you in a positive way. Lastly, get yourself an accountability partner! When you are feeling unmotivated you should have that one person that you can lean on.”
The number three and final item in an Airman’s toolbox according to Williams was to embrace life’s journey.
“Throughout life obstacles arise and walls appear, you can either climb over them or tackle them head on,” said Williams. “When you invest in yourself and monitor your circle, those obstacles/walls/humps are easier to face.”
One of Williams' final visits was to two professional organizations from the IDANG, the Rising Two and the Essential Six. These groups consist of Airmen from the lowest rank to senior master sergeants. During this meeting he met with them behind closed doors and encouraged a frank and honest discussion, this ensured he got the true pulse of the organization.
What came out of this meeting, and the entire visit, was a call to action to the Airmen of the IDANG. A call to make the organization better. This call included the encouragement to start the change within these organizations to influence and change the course of the guard for the better.