Fifth CMSAF shares words of wisdom with Hanscom enlisted Airmen
By Airman 1st Class Clinton Atkins, 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 07, 2007
Hanscom AFB --
Hanscom's enlisted servicemembers received a wealth of advice from a retired Air Force legend and renowned speaker at a pair of enlisted calls on March 2.
Though he retired from active duty in 1979, Chief Master Sgt. Robert Gaylor, the fifth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, has continued to share his enthusiasm of the service for almost 60 years.
"It's almost selfish," Chief Gaylor said of his passion for sharing anecdotal speeches with today's Airmen. "I call it a mid-air refueling. It's sort of like I getting my battery charged. I think I have a message that is worth sharing."
One bit of advice that the chief shared was that Airmen should make the best of any assignment without regard to location or the climate of the area.
He said it is an Airman's willingness to get involved determines contentment, he said.
"Some of the best assignments I've ever had were not selected by me," he said. "I look back now and I see some of the greatest things that ever happened to me I did not initiate."
The chief urged Airmen to be open to all opportunities, explore fully their options and learn details associated with any assignment before dismissing it. "If you abruptly say, 'No, I don't want to do that,' you may overlook one of the greatest opportunities of your entire lifetime."
Another topic the chief addressed was Airmen allowing their daily routines to cause them to lose sight of why they joined the Air Force.
"The odds are pretty good that you drive to work using the same route, you enter the same gate, you probably park in about the same place, you walk into the same office, you see the same people and everything you left yesterday is still there," he said.
The chief said Airmen who get stuck in a rut will begin to question why they joined the Air Force if they are not cautious. "I think to avoid that you just have to take a step back and say, 'You're darn right what I do is important, and people know that and I'm a part of a team,'" he said.
Chief Gaylor said by taking a step back, Airmen will have a better view of their own lives and careers, which will allow them to ask themselves: "How's my life going?" "How's my career going?" "Am I making any headway?" "How do I feel about it?"
"It's somewhat of a personal reflection and you say to yourself, 'What I am doing is important,' he said.
Chief Gaylor also addressed the meaning of the word "just," during the enlisted calls. Instead of thinking, "I'm just an Airman." He said everyone should be proud of who they are and what they do, he said.
"I think everyone is equally important," he said.
"My number one purpose is to thank [the Airmen] for the great job they are doing," Chief Gaylor said. "Then, for the most part, I guess my message is to focus on their purpose, goals and [for them] to never lose sight of that."
"In these times of draw downs and all of that, I think it requires a definite focus on goals, purpose and mission," he said.
During his visit to Hanscom, the chief said he could tell Airmen were focused on their goals and the mission. "So, I guess [the speeches were] like a half-time locker room pep talk."
Chief Gaylor said that after visiting bases, he goes home with a very positive reflection of everything he experienced while there. Occasionally someone will tell him, "Chief, don't ever stop doing what you are doing; we need that," he said.
The retired chief said these compliments serve as motivating reinforcements for him to keep traveling and meeting with Airmen. "From my perspective, it's the privilege of being able to still feel I'm a small part of the force," he said.
The chief said that the Airmen's perspective is, "here's a guy who has been around the Air Force for 59 years. Maybe he knows what he is talking about. I would like to think that it's a mutual thing," Chief Gaylor said.
"What I don't want to do [when giving a speech or visiting a base] is get and not give," he said. "When I come to a base I get the red carpet [treatment]. I get good quarters, I get fruit in the room and I get meals, so I just don't want to say, 'Give me,' I want to give in return."
After spending time touring the base, Chief Gaylor said his favorite part about his visit to Hanscom was, without a doubt, meeting the people.
"I like to meet them on their terms -- in work centers like the honor guard," Chief Gaylor said. I like to see them where they are comfortable."
Though his time here at Hanscom was short, Chief Gaylor imparted useful advice and shared his palpable excitement for the Air Force with Airmen.