News Search

Commentary: Be memorable, inspire future generations

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Jared Klingaman
  • 820th Base Defense Group

Staff Sgts. Stan Mason, Charlie Jefferson, Doc Lawrence, and Master Sgt. Kenneth G. Webb: none of you know these individuals, but their legacy and efforts as supervisors are evident.

These NCOs were my very first influences in the Air Force and the reason I am wearing these chevrons today.

Front-line supervisors have the greatest impact on the Air Force’s most valuable asset: Airmen. They have daily interaction with their Airmen, and in all honesty, have become the technical experts in their respective career fields.

My supervisors were never too tired or too busy to teach me. They were never fearful to scold me. Most importantly, they were never too afraid to provide me honest feedback, both good and bad. I remember everything about these men, because they had the passion to be that leader, mentor, father and disciplinarian to make a true airman out of young Jared Klingaman.

As you gain the next rank, you will learn professional military education provides you with the tools to become an effective supervisor and leader.

Airman Leadership School was the single most important PME in my career because it provided me the baseline of everything I do today. It taught me commitment to the mission and other people provide the most demanding element of leadership being sacrifice.

A leader does not watch the clock or avoid the hard task. Instead, a leader must be willing to stay until the job is done and treat others fairly and honestly along the way. The hardest jobs are done by those willing to take the challenge and risk failure.

Don’t succumb to the common clichés from those who tell you, “This is how we do it here,” or “Forget what you learned.” Chances are, those are the type of people who will never be remembered and no one will ever speak of them in a positive way.

The men I mentioned above never caved to a perception or a “system.” They were leaders and supervisors and executed the very same teachings you learn in PME. My point is, do not falter because you believe a system is flawed. 

Take these teachings, apply them for the rest of your career and be the leader you wished you had.

Get out there and be a leader. Take the time to thank those who have helped or inspired you. Maintain your enthusiasm for higher responsibility by striving for excellence and mentoring Airmen across the globe. 

The summation of your success is 20 years from now when your Airman stands before a crowd and remembers your name.

How do you want be remembered?