By Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — “I still do this because I love it. Each day I get to put on the uniform — the cloth of my nation — and be part of a world champion team,” Command Chief Master Sgt. Douglas McIntyre, Air Force Space Command, told Vosler NCO Academy class 15-2.
McIntyre addressed 109 technical sergeants at the Vosler NCOA Feb. 11, sharing experiences and advice gained from more than 30 years as an enlisted Airman. He noted his relationship with the Air Force runs even deeper than his three decades of service.
“Both of my daughters were born on Sept. 18, two years apart,” he said, noting that they share the Air Force’s birthday.
McIntyre reminded the group they are the future leaders of the Air Force and will lead the service to where it needs to go in the coming years. He told them one’s view of the Air Force is based on where he or she sits, and from his position it looks good.
“The difference between me and you is my supervisor,” McIntyre said. “I can tell you from where I sit in the Air Force there is no one who can do what we can do.”
About 80 percent of the Air Force consists of enlisted members, who McIntyre referred to as the “backbone and heartbeat of the Air Force.” To illustrate the point, he shared a personal experience from his time atVandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., when Russian inspectors visited as part of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Russian inspectors were most suspicious of the number of enlisted people handling important technical jobs.
“The Russians did not think enlisted people could do what they do,” McIntyre said. “Our generals run the Air Force, but the relationship they have with our enlisted force has never been better.”
The Air Force is the most diverse service of its kind, McIntyre said, and that is where it gets its strength. The command chief began his career in logistics, issuing thermal underwear in Alaska — he can still recite the inventory number. Today he is responsible for the professional development of 10,000 Airmen at 134 worldwide locations and credits the NCOs who mentored him along the way for his success.
“It’s because of people like you who helped me and held me accountable,” he said.
McIntyre advised the class of sergeants to be attentive and address problems when they occur to prevent standards from eroding. He said to forego addressing an observed issue is to condone it.
“We can’t pick the rules we follow,” said McIntyre. “We are protectors of an idea — the idea that we can be free. We don’t swear allegiance to anyone, we swear allegiance to an idea. Whatever I do I need to do something I believe in.”
“I love the Airman’s creed,” McIntyre said, “but I hang my hat on the core values. The one thing that has not changed are the core values. They haven’t changed because we got them right.”
The chief also told the audience they were entrusted with a national treasure: America’s sons and daughters. As NCOs they are responsible for those national treasures and need to consider that as they train, equip and lead new Airmen.
“You do not judge someone by the number of chevrons they wear, but by what they bring,” McIntyre said. “Everybody brings something to the fight and your job is to bring it out of them.”
Completing the NCO Academy is a milestone in an enlisted Airman’s career, and McIntyre encouraged the class not to waste the opportunity. He urged them to have the courage to take advantage of opportunities that lie ahead.
He ended his session with a call to apply what they learned during the course.
“What should you do with this? I challenge you to go back and be a different NCO. Put something you learned here into practice,” McIntyre said. “Go back and lead your Airmen.”