By Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Col. James Smith, 50th Space Wing commander, held his first commander’s call in the fitness center at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, June 26.
During the event, Smith introduced his family and laid out his expectations for his tenure as commander.
“I’m primarily interested as your commander in gaining your trust,” Smith said. “In order to gain your trust, I think it helps for you to understand a little about me- specifically what drives me.”
Smith highlighted a quote that holds important meaning to him.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” he said. “So I’m going to describe to you why I do what I do.”
He began to list his “whys” starting with an introduction to his family, bringing his wife Kristy up to introduce herself.
“I said at the change of command, families support us,” Smith said. “The real reason I do what I do is to take care of family and to make sure they have a country and freedoms in which they can enjoy the things they enjoy.”
Smith encouraged Airmen in attendance to find something in their lives greater than their career and offered his support in whatever they find.
Next, he touched upon his second “why,” service, by sharing some of his personal reasons for service.
“Everyone here has a story,” Smith said. “Everyone can talk to the service they give.”
Smith recalled his graduation from the United States Air Force Academy where he was asked if he would ever be in harm’s way, bringing in his third “why.”
“I don’t ever want to be the reason we lose someone in combat,” he said. “Many people rely on our mission here at Schriever each and every day. My commitment to them is we won’t be the reason they don’t come home.”
Technical Sgt. Tony Tirado, 4th Space Operations Squadron maintenance flight noncommissioned officer in charge who attended the call said he has never seen a commander care about family and he is likely cognizant of the impacts his future decisions will make on his Airmen.
“As a father, it’s very comforting to see a commander place emphasis on family,” he said. “It shows at the end of the day, I can do my part in the mission with my head held high knowing the consideration was made.”
Finally he expressed his love for the space mission and his connection to it throughout his life to bring about his fourth “why,” the mission and teams who do the mission.
“I will do anything to support the mission at Schriever and to support each of you as individuals making up this team,” Smith said. “If there are things we can do to make your life, your mission or your job easier, that’s what we’re here for.”
He explained how he wants to incorporate his whys into his work with the wing and his excitement in meeting individuals in the coming days.
“I look forward to getting out and meeting all of you,” he said. “I look forward to learning your stories, your whys and making Schriever a better place.”