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Team V welcomes new command chief

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Peterson, 30th Space Wing command chief, speaks about his vision for Vandenberg and background here Monday, August 27, 2012. The native of Granite Falls, Minn. has had extensive experience in leadership, having been stationed stateside, overseas and on multiple contingency deployments.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Jerry E. Clemens Jr.)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Peterson, 30th Space Wing command chief, speaks about his vision for Vandenberg and background here Monday, August 27, 2012. The native of Granite Falls, Minn. has had extensive experience in leadership, having been stationed stateside, overseas and on multiple contingency deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jerry E. Clemens Jr.)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Peterson, 30th Space Wing command chief, speaks about his vision for Vandenberg and background here Monday, August 27, 2012. The native of Granite Falls, Minn. has had extensive experience in leadership, having been stationed stateside, overseas and on multiple contingency deployments.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Jerry E. Clemens Jr.)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Peterson, 30th Space Wing command chief, speaks about his vision for Vandenberg and background here Monday, August 27, 2012. The native of Granite Falls, Minn. has had extensive experience in leadership, having been stationed stateside, overseas and on multiple contingency deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jerry E. Clemens Jr.)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg welcomed Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Peterson as the new 30th Space Wing command chief in August.

As the new command chief, Peterson advises the commander on the morale, welfare, training and mission readiness of more than 2,400 enlisted Airmen in the wing.

"Vandenberg is a whole new base, it's a whole new mission that I have never been a part of (before)," said Peterson. "The best part about my new job is that I have the opportunity to see what everybody is doing and learn about their jobs and hopefully help them do their jobs better in some way."

Col. Nina Armagno, 30th Space Wing commander, is grateful to have Peterson on-board.

"The 30 SW is fortunate to have Chief Peterson with us," said Armagno. "With his exemplary record and experience at the squadron, group, and major command levels, he will be a great addition to the 30th Space Wing and Team Vandenberg!"

Peterson has been in the Air Force for more than 18 years and began his career at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., as a security specialist.

Initially I joined the Air Force to gain education and experience to be a civilian police officer, said the Granite Falls, Minn. native. "I decided not to use that experience on the outside, and have been a cop in the Air Force for the last 18 years."

The new chief has had extensive experience in leadership, having been stationed stateside, overseas and on multiple contingency deployments.

"I can relate to Airmen who are deploying and give them some insight that I've got and some of the challenges coming back that I had," said Peterson. "It's never a sign of weakness to say that you need some help, it's a sign of strength to recognize a problem and there are so many people on base that can help."

He also feels that it is important to focus on core values.

"I think it really just comes down to fundamentals: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do," said Peterson. "If your foundation is strong then everything seems to fall into place."

As a leader, Peterson contends that face-to-face communication is key to understanding Airmen.

"It's really hard to get a feel for how someone is doing based on social media," he said. "As supervisors we need to make sure that we are involved in our Airmen's lives. Make sure that the supervisors are sitting down with them so that our Airmen can see that they can count on us."

A piece of advice he gives supervisors is to continue to engage with Airmen.

"Facebook and mass emails are great for getting messages out and for getting information out, but you can't supervise through social media and you can't supervise through email," Peterson said. "Technology has a place but we need to be careful that we don't become so reliant on it that we lose our basic skills supervision."

As Peterson assumes the role of command chief, he makes the mission a main priority.

"My main objective is to make sure the mission gets accomplished," said the American Military University graduate. "I want to make sure that everything I try to do for the enlisted Airmen feeds in to mission assurance and that they don't have any extra things on their mind except what they are doing for the mission that day."

Throughout his career, Peterson has taken advantage of the many opportunities afforded to him by the military, to include earning a Senior Parachutist Badge.

"The opportunity came up (to become jump qualified) because our unit had an airborne mission at the time," he said. "I was also one of the only people that had taken the time to get a class three physical and I could pass the Army physical training test."

To earn the badge, a military member must participate in at least 30 jumps, including 15 with combat equipment. The member will then will be qualified to participate in airborne operations.

"I got the request for volunteers on Wednesday and by Friday I was driving up to Fort Benning, Ga. to report to airborne school," said Peterson. "That is why I tell people to be ready and have your things in order so you can take those short notice opportunities, because they come up and if you are not ready you are never going to get a chance."

When he is not working, the chief spends most of his time with his wife and 6-month-old son, and intends to explore the local area.

"It seems that every place I have been there have been people who have hated it, there were people who didn't like Florida, Greece, Italy, Guam or Hawaii, but those same people just sat around and never got out," said Peterson, who was previously stationed at Hurlburt Field, Fla."It's important to get out and get in the local community, go out and do some wine tasting and see the outdoors."