VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The 15th Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney McKinley visited Team V, March 16, here.
Once retired, most Air Force leaders continue to influence positive change for Airmen.
“I am very thankful that I still get invited to go on base visits, talk to Airmen, and speak at different events; like the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony, Senior NCO Induction ceremony, and Professional Military Education graduations,” said McKinley. “I was invited to Vandenberg to do a base visit and speak at the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony.”
While at the base, McKinley met wing leadership and other key leaders, spoke at Airmen Leadership School, and visited the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron, 30th Security Forces Squadron, 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and many Airmen across the installation.
“I am super impressed every time I go out and meet Airmen no matter where I go,” said McKinley. “Coming to Vandenberg, which has a very diverse mission, you get to see some unique Air Force Specialty Code’s and the special things that Airmen are doing here. It is great for me to continue to learn the things that our Airman are doing, and how they contribute not only to the Air Force but also to the local community. For example, the fire department, here, was very engaged in helping divert disasters in the local area.”
After speaking to ALS students, McKinley briefly spoke on the future he hopes to see with the enlisted force.
“We have an enlisted force that is very educated, so I think there is a lot of room for evolving as we go,” said McKinley. “When you see enlisted Airmen in the pilot training program, at Air War College, and at the Air Force Institute of Technology, I would love to see the enlisted force in the future lead in positions that were once held by officers.”
Later the same night, Chief McKinley spoke at the Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony with advice for Vandenberg’s newest chiefs.
“Just because you are a chief does not make you a great leader. You are a great leader if you inspire people and they want to follow you,” said McKinley. “Great leaders don’t look to take care of themselves but they look to inspire and build other leaders. It is not what you have done in the past as an enlisted Airman but what you are going to do in the future as a chief. It is a golden opportunity to make a difference in the Air Force mission and Airmen’s lives.”
After leaving Vandenberg, Chief McKinley’s inspiration stayed.
“Having the opportunity to interact directly with a previous chief master sergeant of the Air Force is a distinct highlight in my career thus far,” said Master Sgt. Kimberly Sims, 30th Operations Support Squadron superintendent. “Chief McKinley truly cares about Airmen, both past and present, and that showed in everything he did. From his arrival to Vandenberg, interacting with Security Forces Airmen at the gate, to his mentorship of the Air Force's newly selected chief master sergeants. One of the coolest things about Chief McKinley was the excitement and pride he still shows about being an Airman!”