By Master Sgt. Stacia Zachary
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Clark
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Carter recently stepped into his new role as the command chief for the 19th Airlift Wing. Having served in various roles ranging from an aircrew flight equipment technician to an instructor to a first sergeant, Carter is ready to use his experience to take care of the Little Rock Air Force Base Airmen and ensure the Combat Airlift mission is carried out successfully.
During the first few weeks on the job, Carter has focused on learning as much about the mission as possible in an effort to connect to the Airmen and be knowledgeable of the responsibilities they are charged with carrying out.
Below are a few of the questions Carter answered about what his hopes and goals are as the command chief of the Black Knights:
Q: What do you hope to bring to Team Little Rock?
A: Out of my 26 years of service, I think experience is really what it’s all about. The Air Force trains us during basic military training, technical school and through on-the-job training when we reach our bases. Everything we learn - all the experiences that we have - I think builds body of work that can be used later in your career you get to leverage. I think carrying (those experiences) forward, sharing what you’ve learned is one of the most important things you can do because we are developing people who can do the mission well and eventually replace us.
Q: What key items so you plan to invest in with regard to the enlisted force?
A: Colonel Brown really emphasizes what it takes to complete the mission in the Air Force, and that’s the people, partnerships and readiness. I think most important is trying to figure out how you fit into that. Whatever your (Air Force Specialty Code) is, every day you should be thinking how do you fit into that concept.
Q: What are your priorities?
A: I hope to get back to the basics and invest in the camaraderie, the teamwork and the family you develop in the Air Force. We are a family, and just saying it isn’t enough. We have to invest in our people and take care of them. A priority to me is asking questions, listening to what people say and then taking action. I want to reach out and touch as many people as I can. I want to go out and meet people in their work spaces so I can learn what they do, what’s important to them, what their priorities are, what their values are, and what their goals are. Whether they stay four, six , 10, 20 or 30 years, I want their (time in service) to be a great experience.
Q: How will you ensure 19th AW priorities of People, Readiness and Partnerships are embraced?
A: When I am out and about with the commander and vice commander, I just like to stop at places and just say hi and shake hands and tell people thank you. We had a great team out at KUDOS, it’s just amazing, you look around and you’d think you’d see a lot of senior leadership coming out of those different offices and organizations to be out there with the families and kids and it’s just a lot of young Airmen, excited to be doing what they do. Some have been here two weeks some have been here 7 or 10 years and they are still out there loving what they do, loving there job, loving their profession and sharing their craft. They spent years perfecting their craft now they are out there sharing it. Sharing the message and the mission of TLR and taking care of specifically the people, partnerships and readiness.
Q: How do our Airmen of today not only support the mission here for Combat Airlift, but the greater mission with joint and coalition forces?
A: We have a very smart force of enlisted, officer and civilian Airmen. We’re leaner but it’s amazing to hear the people talk about what they do and the different places they’ve been and the experiences they have had. When I see a C-130 take off from here, I wonder where they are going and if they are going somewhere to provide supplies and support across the United States. I wonder if they are providing disaster relief or going somewhere overseas to support the Combat Airlift mission and the different countries we are allied with. Every person on this installation supports that and they should take pride and be very proud of that mission: The combatant commanders know they can rely on our team here and I think that’s really important. Showing the connection on what they do every day and how impacts the bigger picture. So when you turn the news and you see supplies and vehicles being offloaded, those things got there, probably from one of our C-130s. People need to understand what they do every day is very important to Combat Airlift.
Showing the impact Combat Airlifters have on current operations — whether it’s training, humanitarian support or aiding the combatant commanders — Chief Carter is dedicated to taking care of the people so the mission will not fail.