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Retired chief Gaylor engages with Airmen

Chief Master Sgt. Jason Price, 30th Launch Group superintendent talks with Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, Robert Gaylor, during a base tour, July 16, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Gaylor received a brief base tour of Vandenberg and spent most of his time engaging with Airmen during the many speaking engagements on his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

Chief Master Sgt. Jason Price, 30th Launch Group superintendent talks with Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, Robert Gaylor, during a base tour, July 16, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Gaylor received a brief base tour of Vandenberg and spent most of his time engaging with Airmen during the many speaking engagements on his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, Robert Gaylor, poses for a photo with Senior Airman Andrew Tello 30th Comptroller Squadron lead defense travel administrator, like he did with many Airmen during his visit here, July 16, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Gaylor received a brief base tour of Vandenberg and spent most of his time engaging with Airmen during the many speaking engagements on his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, Robert Gaylor, poses for a photo with Senior Airman Andrew Tello, 30th Comptroller Squadron lead defense travel administrator, like he did with many Airmen during his visit here, July 16, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Gaylor received a brief base tour of Vandenberg and spent most of his time engaging with Airmen during the many speaking engagements on his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor (center), poses for a photo with Lt. Gen. Jay Raymond, commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) and Joint Functional Component Command for Space (left) and Chief Master Sgt. Patrick McMahon, command chief, 14th AF and JFCC Space Command Senior Enlisted Leader, during a visit here, July 16, 2015. Gaylor received a brief base tour of Vandenberg but spent most of his time engaging with Airmen during the many speaking engagements on his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Nicholas Mercurio/Released)

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor (center), poses for a photo with Lt. Gen. Jay Raymond, commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) and Joint Functional Component Command for Space (left) and Chief Master Sgt. Patrick McMahon, command chief, 14th AF and JFCC Space Command Senior Enlisted Leader, during a visit here, July 16, 2015. Gaylor received a brief base tour of Vandenberg but spent most of his time engaging with Airmen during the many speaking engagements on his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Nicholas Mercurio/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, Robert Gaylor visited and connected with Team V members from around base July 16, 2015. 

Gaylor received a brief base tour but spent most of his time engaging with Airmen and emphasizing the individual impact each person can have on the Air Force as a whole.

"My goal is to promote and support the feeling of ownership of the Air Force and the individual's contribution to the mission," said Gaylor. "I think it is very easy for a person to be assigned to a particular function, go there every day, complete that function very effectively and not feel like they are part of the whole."

Gaylor retired as the fifth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force in 1979, yet continues to be connected to the Air Force and share his career experiences with Airmen.

"I still refer to the Air Force as 'my Air Force' and I am not being selfish, I really feel that I am a part owner of what we know as the Air Force," said Gaylor. "I started out as a cop and I didn't have that feeling. I was at a base and I guarded things that never moved. I didn't always feel like I was doing something important, but once I realized it was important it made my career easy."

For some of the base leadership it provided an opportunity to see into the mind of an individual, who despite being retired for 36 years, still provides inspiration to the current generation of Airmen.

"Two things amazed me about the chief, first off is his ability to connect with an individual instantly," said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Bedell, 30th Space Wing command chief. "The other thing is his ability to stay current with what is going on in the world. If this gentleman at 85 years old can stay so connected to his Air Force, as he puts it, then why can't I do the same to my Air Force?"

Despite not being here for long, Gaylor took the time to connect on an individual basis with Airmen, listening intently and responding with advice gleaned from years of experience.

"Success in life narrows down to about three words," said Gaylor. "Word one, contribution; are you making a contribution? The second word is impact. Is my contribution helping make an impact? And third is visibility, is what I do visible? Do others see and know what I do?"