By Staff Sgt. Stacy Foster
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The Space Innovation and Development Center here hosted the eighth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, retired Chief Master Sgt. Sam Parish, Feb. 11.
Chief Parish first greeted several Team Schriever award nominees, prior to giving a speech on this month’s Year of Leadership topic, followership.
“Congratulations to all of you. You are the best of the best that Schriever has to offer, so in that sense, you’re all winners already,” Chief Parish said.
Airmen and civilians from all parts of the base then gathered in the SIDC’s High Plains Cafeteria for Chief Parish’s speech.
Chief Parish spoke about his career path and how important family was, and still is, to him during his career and affiliation with the Air Force, which has continued for more than 54 years.
“Whether you lead, follow or get out of the way of those that do, you can’t be successful without a family,” Chief Parish said. “Family charges us up, and that’s even more important today, because Airmen are doing so much more than they were even a few years ago.”
He also believes enlisted Airmen are doing jobs today that have never been done in the history of the Air Force.
“If you want to see a picture of followership, just take a snapshot of the Air Force from a few years ago, and you’ll see what has been accomplished since then,” Chief Parish said.
Chief Parish pointed out that followership cannot happen without our core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.
“Getting back to basics is nothing more than getting back to our core values,” he said. “Our core values are the foundation of it all, leadership and followership.”
He then explained how integrity leads to good followership by distinguishing the difference between what leadership wants to hear and what they need to hear.
“That’s the best example of followership that I can think of, to ensure leadership hears what they need to hear, and not necessarily what they want to hear,” Chief Parish said.
This example of followership, Chief Parish believes, is what builds a trusting relationship between officers and enlisted Airmen.
“In fact, the greatest trust that exists in the Air Force is between a pilot and his crew chief,” he said. “When that crew chief gives a pilot a thumbs up, he’s telling that officer that his plane is ready to fly, and when that pilot returns the thumbs up, he’s telling that enlisted Airman, ‘I trust you.'”
Finally, Chief Parish concluded by saying that while the three grades of the military,(civilian, enlisted and officers) may differ, each contributes an equal piece of the puzzle.
“I encourage each of you to become part of the written history of the United States Air Force,” Chief Parish said.