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Developing Airmen and working mission ops never stop

by Capt. Suzanne VanderWeyst
386th Air Expeditionary Wing public affairs

8/6/2008 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Daylong senior noncommissioned officer induction events at the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Aug. 2 exemplified a commitment to professionally developing Airmen in the deployed environment. The induction events were held at no expense to mission operations, which continued, thanks to the efforts of the Airmen making it happen.

"As long as we're over here ... we'll always professionally develop our people," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Antwine, the 386th AEW command chief and the ceremony's guest speaker. "And it's because of the commitment of our members who put this on that we can do this."

A team contributing significantly to the induction-day events was the wing's Top 3 Council, which consists of members of the top three enlisted ranks in the Air Force. Master Sgt. Karen Phillips, Master Sgt. Edward Perry and Master Sgt. Frances Jackson put in many hours as seminar and induction committee co-chairs to make the day beneficial to the inductees.

"It was a very worthwhile day of reflection on our accomplishments and insight into our future responsibilities and expectations from others," said inductee Tech. Sgt. Paul Crisostomo, 386th AEW Safety NCO, deployed from the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Inductees went through a comprehensive senior noncommissioned officer development seminar designed to address the needs and challenges facing today's senior NCOs. They participated in sessions on physical fitness, senior NCO responsibilities and joint services operations, to name a few.

The day started with the "hands-on mentoring" of a 5 a.m. fitness run around the base, which emphasized the importance of a fit force, and ended with a unique combat-style induction ceremony.

"The senior NCO induction ceremony is a major stepping stone for the enlisted force," said Master Sgt. Dennis Soave, 386th AEW Top 3 Council vice president. "It is the crossing over the bridge between being a noncommissioned officer and a senior noncommissioned officer. The importance of the ceremony is for the inductees to realize the importance and be recognized by their new Top 3 tier."

Out of the 32 inductees, two recently redeployed and 11 couldn't make it to the ceremony due to the constraints of already being In-Lieu-Of forces doing security operations and running convoys in Iraq.

"They are supporting the mission and that's what it's all about," said Chief Antwine said.

As with anything a senior NCO does, mentoring was incorporated into every aspect of the induction seminar and induction ceremony. Even until near the close of the day, inductees received mentoring from their deployed wing's highest ranking senior NCO:

"When a leader has earned authority, others willingly follow even in the most difficult times and situations," said Chief Antwine. "Inductees, presently we are in some of those difficult times and situations ... we do have a mission that is very important, one that demands our undivided attention, one that will not tolerate complacency, one that will not allow us to pick and choose which standards to enforce.

"Inductees, we are taking a day away from the war to mentor to you, help you prepare for your future role as a senior NCO," Chief Antwine continued. "I feel you are prepared. The question now comes from within: Inductees, are you ready to join the senior noncommissioned officer corps?"

With shouts, each master-sergeant select and each recently promoted master sergeant accepted the challenge to begin that role, starting in the demanding environment of deployed operations.

"Seize the opportunity to use your senior NCO promotion in a combat environment," said Col. Cameron Torrens, 386th AEW commander. "Your country respects you, your Airmen need you and we ... we are so very, very proud of you."

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