Gunfighters create chief legacy program
By Senior Airman Tyrell Hall, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 14, 2019
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Chief master sergeants are the senior enlisted leaders of squadrons at the wing or higher levels. They are examples of excellence in the enlisted tier, climbing to the highest enlisted rank. Chief Master Sgt. Wendell Snider, 366th Fighter Wing command chief unveiled the Gunfighters first Command Chief Legacy Program with a ceremony, Nov. 8, 2019.
The program recognizes MHAFB’s top enlisted leaders who’ve served in the 366th FW as senior enlisted advisors and command chief master sergeants.
Snider was inspired to create the program after researching MHAFB’s past command chiefs and learning there was little captured about them in Gunfighter history.
“I really wanted to do something to honor the top enlisted who selflessly served the Air Force,” Snider said. “Command chiefs have a huge impact on an organization.”
Command chiefs are the key advocates and advisors on operational effectiveness and have oversight on the equipping of enlisted Airmen and enhancement of mission effectiveness to ensure a ready force. They build leaders who resolve today’s issues and fight tomorrow’s wars.
The opportunity to lead the Command Chief Legacy Program was presented to Staff Sgt. Alexandra Christofferson, 366th Force Support Squadron NCO in charge of outbound assignments, and Staff Sgt. Savannah Preston Carter, 366th FSS NCO in charge of force management, who both stepped up and spearheaded the ceremony’s planning and organization.
The project started out as an idea that eventually developed into a larger endeavor. As the project grew, Preston Carter and Christofferson gathered support from squadrons, including the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron and protocol officers who helped with everything from lighting to finding documentation on prior command chiefs.
It was an opportunity for them to lead and learn about their Gunfighter heritage, and Preston Carter said they couldn’t have done it without the help of their team.
“We wanted to capture the achievements of prior command chiefs and the positive impact they had in support of the wing,” she said Carter. “Very rarely do you see senior enlisted leaders being recognized on this scale.”
Christofferson explained they had a 30-day window to execute the plans for the ceremony. Throughout this period, they spent time in meetings forming creative ideas and talking with Snider. They were able to partner with him and see his vision for honoring command chiefs.
“As we came up with ideas we wanted to implement, chief was all on board and supported us hands down,” she said. “This gave us the opportunity to lead and see the project unfold.”
Even though the project was Snider’s vision, he allowed everyone involved to take ownership in the planning process, this allowed them a chance to have a hand in molding it.
“I think by doing this he really exemplified what a leader is.,” she said.
After a month of planning, they were able to execute a momentous and historical ceremony for MHAFB. Over 100 personnel showed up to support the event and Snider said he felt the ceremony went very well, as it succeeded in honoring and recognizing the Gunfighters’ command chiefs.
During the ceremony, each prior command chief shared a few words about their career and their experience.
Airmen also read the biographies of chiefs who couldn’t attend which contained their accomplishments, philosophies and words of wisdom. It showcased the pride and dedication of being a command chief.
Snider will one day be added to the list of those who have left their mark on the Gunfighter family. If there were three things he finds important for a chief to have, he said they would be impeccable character, passion and humility.
“I want to be a command chief who sets the right example, listens, fixes issues, is approachable and deliberately develops Airmen,” Snider said.
The Gunfighters will continue to build on the program to honor command chiefs who have served before and those to come.