New senior enlisted advisor promises to get the job done
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Chief Master Sgt. David Huerd, 66th Air Base Group superintendent and Hanscom’s senior enlisted advisor, speaks to Airmen during a First Term Airman Center class Feb. 22. In his new role, Huerd will serve as the voice of the base’s enlisted force and work with the installation commander to secure, sustain and support Hanscom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Wyatt)
Posted 1/30/2013 Updated 1/30/2013
by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
1/30/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Although Hanscom's new senior enlisted advisor and 66th Air Base Group superintendent, Chief Master Sgt. David Huerd, is new to the job, he's not new to the base. The former 66th Security Forces Squadron manager has had the luxury of patrolling the installation, meeting people and learning about the mission. Now, he's ready to put that knowledge to use for the betterment of the community and enlisted force.
Huerd's duties are two-fold. As the senior enlisted advisor, he concentrates on the "big picture." He makes sure he's providing all agencies across the installation with what they need to get the job done. He serves as the voice of the enlisted force. Throughout the local community, he acts as the face of the enlisted force.
"The local community here is fantastic," he said. "There's a lot of opportunities for us to work with our partners off base and they do a lot for the installation. It's important for me to be at their events."
As the superintendent, the chief has a slightly narrower, but just as important, focus. He works for the installation commander, Col. Lester A. Weilacher.
"First, I have to find out what my boss wants," Huerd said, "Colonel Weilacher has four focuses and I have to translate that direction into manageable events."
With group's mission being to secure, sustain and support the base, the chief looks to support more than 100,000 people throughout the New England and New York region. Those responsibilities include working with units such as the military personnel section, medical and security, as well as working with agencies such as the Hanscom Exchange and commissary.
"It's part of my job to make sure these agencies have what they need to be successful," he said. "We also service a lot of retirees. We must put our best foot forward. We need to make sure they get the service they deserve."
Other items the chief and commander are focused on are inspection readiness, resources, giving customers a voice and caring for Airmen.
"We want to make sure that the Air Base Group is always inspection ready," he said. "It doesn't matter what type of visit we're getting--whether it's an assessment or a SAV (site assistance visit). We don't treat it that way. We want to make sure people are doing what they need to do."
In times of tight budgets, Huerd says the Air Force is far beyond doing less with less.
"We prioritize what we need to get done so the base is functional," he said. "We're to the point where we're going to have to look at everything and rack and stack. There's going to be some things that we're not going to be able to do and that's just the nature of the climate that we're in right now."
Although money is tight, he thinks it's also important to give customers a voice.
"How are we doing? Can we make it better? Is there something we're doing that's not value added," Huerd said. "We need to stay tuned to their needs. As times change, so do the needs of our customers."
Taking care of Airmen is an essential task for the chief.
"My firm belief is if we can develop great people, we'll have great Airmen," he said.
Highlights for the enlisted force will be professional development, caring for families and retirees and finding resources to make life better.
"The Airman and Family Readiness Center does a fantastic job of giving our Airmen things they need," Huerd said. "We need to give Airmen resources where they can go to unwind. We need to take care of our deployers and take care of their families while they're gone. We need to take care of our retirees. They're still Airmen, just not active duty."
Part of taking care of Airmen involves recognizing them.
"We need to recognize everyone for their good performance," he said. "It matters."
The chief believes everyone's job is important.
"You'll see the boss and me coming around to work centers," Huerd said. "It doesn't matter if you're active duty, retired, guard, reserve, appropriated fund employees, NAF (non-appropriated fund) employees or contractor. Everyone matters. We all have an important job for the warfighter. We care what you do and we want to know is there anything we can do for you."
Caring for military members and their families is something that runs deep in Huerd's family. His father and grandfather were in the Army. His other grandfather was in the Canadian Army. His uncle was in the Marines. His son has been in the Navy for six years. A host of extended family members have served, are serving or are planning to serve.
"I was an Army brat," he said. "My dad was in the Army for 21 years. It was a way of life we were used to. After high school, I worked some different jobs seeing what I liked. I really wasn't happy, so I decided to enlist in the Air Force."
He's been fortunate to not only share military experiences with his father, but also with his son.
"When I was deployed in 2009, I had just got to Spangdahlem from the Azores in November. I deployed to Kuwait in February," said Huerd. "My son was in the Navy flying P-3s in Jacksonville. He volunteered to deploy to Camp Bucca in Iraq. Probably one of the best moments in my career, and probably as a parent, was when I was able to pull him off the plane in Kuwait International Airport because I was the security forces manager for the security detachment in Kuwait. I had a good relationship with the people at the airport and they were able to tell me when he was coming in...When he comes down the bottom of the steps, I'm standing there. He says, 'Dad!' That was cool. That deployment we were able to meet four times."
Throughout his nearly 30 year career, the chief has seen and done some unique and amazing things - from seeing the Berlin Wall to being a part of the Air Force Special Operations Command for more than 5 years. He's been a part of the Tactical Response Force at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and deployed twice in three years while stationed at Spangdahlem, Germany.
"My experience has helped me better understand what people go through, how they deal with adversity, and has prepared me to be a better leader," he said. "I'd like to see more people go overseas, more people deploy, to get that experience. I'm proud to be an American and I'm glad I'm an American. Freedom isn't free and I'm glad I'm the one out there securing the country so people can sleep at night."
Huerd plans to use those experiences to make Hanscom "better than he found it."
"We'll get the job done," he said. "We always do. We must look inside ourselves and figure out what can we do to make things better."