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Former CMSAF celebrates Moody’s leaders, inspires enlisted corps
Story by A1C Erick Requadt on 01/17/2019
Only one percent of Airmen ever become a Chief Master Sergeant. Of that one percent, only one serves as the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF). Only 18 chiefs have ever held that title, and one of them came to Moody for a Chief Recognition Ceremony, Jan 11, 2018.
Having served for 29 years in the Air Force, taking him to the rank of chief and beyond, 14th CMSAF Gerald Murray wanted to impart wisdom and celebrate Moody’s newest chiefs.
“We are recognizing these individuals for achieving the highest enlisted rank in our Air Force,” Murray said. “That’s special. Any rank that we make should be a celebration, and ultimately being promoted to the highest enlisted rank is a special ceremony.
“There’s as much importance on this ceremony to inspire those attending, especially those lower ranking as it is to inspire those (pinning on),” Murray continued. “We want them to go off and do great things in this new position. We want the younger Airmen to look up there and say, I want to be that person someday;’ to aspire and to do what is necessary to stay in our Air Force to apply themselves well to achieve and to be that next one percent.”
Chiefs serve in the highest enlisted rank as strategic leaders, acting as key influencers and empowering leaders throughout the Air Force. Murray explained how being a chief tests one in ways they have yet to experience; not only of executing the mission, but impacting Airmen, and sometimes falling short.
“I’ve come to understand what being a servant leader is,” Murray said. “The higher that you go, not only is your responsibility to lead, but that leading is a part of serving, not only our nation and Air Force, but serving others as well.
“(Being a chief) made me a little bit anxious, too, knowing that now my responsibility has grown in depth of the number of Airmen that I have to take and set an example of leadership, and be able to direct and motivate.”
While here, Murray also engaged with Airmen and NCOs at the First-Term Airmen Center and Airman Leadership School, imparting knowledge and wisdom to them about when he was an Airman.
“Murray was able to relate to us about how when he was a young Airman and the mindset he had, and the things he did that made him successful,” said Airman 1st Class Joseph Leveille, 23d Wing Public Affairs photojournalist. “It’s not always big things; sometimes it’s the little things and paying attention to the details, finding that way to be better. He also talked about having the right mindset to stay motivated and be a productive Airman.
“We’re the future of the Air Force,” Leveille added. “It’s inspiring to know that at one point he was an Airman like me, which it just goes to show that any Airman who has the mindset to do great things, as long as they work their hardest and they put their all in every day, that they could be the next Chief Master Sgt. Murray.”
With Moody’s new chiefs forging a path into the future, Murray expressed the importance of what it means to be a chief in the Air Force.
“I think chiefs, with their experience of coming up through the ranks, have probably the best pulse on what’s going on,” Murray said. “I look at chiefs to be the best leaders and managers of resources that we have in the Air Force, and there’s no greater resource than our people. Leading our Airmen is their greatest duty. The chief is the lynch pin in the entire organizational structure for ensuring the job gets done and the mission is met.”
Do superheroes exist? Murray would say so, but not with capes, but in ABUs and OCPs, with the chiefs who wear them. Their superpower? As Murray put it, “To make every Airman successful in their career and in their life and not have any regrets.”