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New command chief wants to help Airmen prepare for their future

Chief Master Sgt. Amanda Stift was selected in April 2018 to be the 403rd Wing’s new command chief master sergeant at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. She is scheduled to begin serving officially in that role Nov. 1, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Labadens)

Chief Master Sgt. Amanda Stift was selected in April 2018 to be the 403rd Wing’s new command chief master sergeant at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. She is scheduled to begin serving officially in that role Nov. 1, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Labadens)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The 403rd Wing selected a new command chief master sergeant to begin serving the wing. Chief Master Sgt. Amanda Stift was chosen in April 2018 to take up the mantle of the wing’s new command chief master sergeant, and she is scheduled to begin serving officially in that role Nov. 1, 2018.

Stift, a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in June of 1995. Both her grandfather and one of her uncles had served in the Air Force, and hearing about their experiences helped her in her own decision to pursue a military career.

During her active-duty service Stift served in various aircrew roles on the KC-135R/T/E. Her Air Force Reserve career began in 2003, when she worked as a functional check boom operator on the KC-135 with the 313th Flight Test Flight at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

She then began taking on more supervisory and advisory roles in her reserve career, such as the 313th FTF squadron superintendent from 2013 to 2014, the career enlisted aviator resource advisor at Headquarters, Air Force Reserve Command, Robins AFB, Georgia from 2014 to 2015, and then as the Air Guard Reserve superintendent of the 413th Flight Test Group at Robins beginning in 2015.

Stift said she had excellent supervisors throughout her career who helped steer her on her path to becoming a supervisor, and eventually command chief. She mentioned that while she was a boom operator, one particular supervisor, Senior Master Sgt. Gordon Ringler, was the guiding light for her career from that point on.

“He was phenomenal. He really set everyone in that entire unit on the path to development, stressing not just being who you are, but developing yourself into something more,” said Stift. “His whole philosophy was, ‘Prepare yourself now for what you may get in the future.’”

It was this philosophy that shaped Stift’s mindset going forward, wanting to help develop other Airmen who came after her – not just in their military careers, but as a person so they could take their knowledge and experience in the military and apply it to all aspects of their lives.

Col. Jennie Johnson, 403rd Wing commander, noted that this particular quality, along with Stift’s other qualifications, made her an excellent choice for the wing’s new command chief master sergeant.

“I was highly impressed by her accomplishments throughout her career in the Air Force as well as her ideals about developing Airmen in their lives and careers. The morale, health and welfare of our Airmen are key components in mission effectiveness, and I believe Chief Stift has what it takes to help support both our Airmen and the mission of the 403rd Wing,” said Johnson.

In her role as command chief master sergeant, Stift reemphasized her desire to focus on development of the enlisted force by making sure they have access to the training and advancement opportunities offered to them through the Air Force Reserve and making sure they’re aware of the paths available to them.

“It’s getting Airmen to understand that it’s more than just military development. Any type of development you do helps you both as a civilian and in the military,” said Stift. “And this encompasses more than just developing your military career, this involves developing you as a whole person.”