By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The 11th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, David Campanale, visited with enlisted members at Schriever Air Force Base, Dec. 13.
Chief Master Sgt. Lavon Coles, 50th Space Wing command chief, prefaced the enlisted calls during the visit by playing a motivational video, where Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III, emphasized the importance of what Airmen do on a daily basis.
“General Welsh nailed it,” said Coles. “Sometimes we just don’t know what we do and what an impact that you make every day on our Air Force and on our great nation.”
Although, the base has seen some rough times this year with six deaths in a six-month time frame, Coles took a moment to highlight some of the positive moments.
“This has been a very challenging year for the entire 50th Space Wing and Schriever Air Force Base,” he said. “I have to tell you. You guys have impressed me. It was absolutely incredible to see how we as a wing came together during those crises.”
Milestones of the year not only highlighted a time to “showcase pride and professionalism” as wingmen, but also in operations, said Coles.
The former CMSAF and Worcester, Mass. native started his discussion with Schriever enlisted members with a humorous story about perspective, a topic he deemed as very important and one he had learned quite a bit about as a father of six and grandfather of four.
The focus then turned more serious as the laughter died down and he looked around the auditorium and asked how many security forces members were present.
“When I was CMSAF I lived on Andrews AFB. You had to drive home from the Pentagon to Andrews, commuting in and out every day,” said Campanale. “I don’t know if any of you have lived in DC but it is a nightmare. I can remember when I got to the base it was a feeling of relief; I made it, I was safe. After I retired, someone asked me what I missed most about the United States Air Force and my answer was the security police. Because when I got to those gates at Andrews AFB or wherever I was, it wasn’t because the traffic was behind me, it was because there was a young man or woman standing up and saying ‘Not today. Today you don’t mess with my people, you don’t mess with my Air Force and you don’t mess with our stuff.’ So, to all our Defenders out there, I miss you greatly.”
The discussion continued with the idea that anyone can be CMSAF if they put their mind to it, something he felt he exemplified.
“I won the Air Force Satellite Control Center NCO of the Year [in 1986]. I was a technical sergeant, and eight years later I was CMSAF,” said Campanale. “I often wonder why it was me. I figured out it was probably not me. It was probably not anything special that I had, other than a genuine care and concern for people. I often thought it was my late wife Barbara who won the day for me.”
The chief said family is an important part of any Airman’s career.
“I know that all of you who have families, moms and dad, sisters and brother, spouses and children, they’re all a very important part of the equation moving forward for you,” he said. “Be sure that during the holidays you take some down time to hug them up a little bit more, tell them that you love them and how special they are.”
Campanale also explained that there is no other company in the world, or any other profession that will give their own life for what they do, dubbing military members “the ultimate professionals.”
“That is something to be very proud of. It’s something that no one else can do,” he said. “You need to walk away and know that. And if you forget that, you call me. I drove 115 miles today and I’ll drive 115 miles again just to tell you that same thing and go right back to work.”