KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Although COVID-19 has stopped some things such as large social gatherings and the past two Unit Training Assemblies, it didn’t stop the 403rd Mission Support Group from hiring the best candidate for their new superintendent position.
Senior Master Sgt. Larry Anderson is that guy, and said he is looking forward to his new job.
As the group superintendent for the 400-person organization, Anderson will add value to the group’s leadership team and the Air Force Reserve enterprise by providing the commander with information regarding the operational effectiveness of the group as well as the training and equipping of Airmen to carry out the wing’s mission, said 403rd Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Amanda J. Stift. She added that the 403rd Operations Group hired Chief Master Sgt. Darren Bannister in October 2019 and the 403rd Maintenance Group hired Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Lassabe this spring.
Prior to the group superintendent positions being added to the Wing’s manpower documents last year, the full-time Air Reserve Technician force was picking up the extra workload that these positions require, said the command chief.
“The ART chiefs within these groups dedicated hours over and above their normal duty days to keep the groups and mission on track,” she said. “To that end, I’d first like to say thank you to all of them. They’ve done an outstanding job maintaining focus and we won’t forget their integrity throughout; each of them truly defined what it means to be a ‘Chief.’”
In his new role, Anderson, who is scheduled to promote to chief master sergeant later this year, will work with squadron superintendents, career enlisted managers and first sergeants to oversee the readiness, training, health, morale, welfare and quality of life for 403rd MSG Airmen. He is also responsible for the professional development of Airmen to include supporting military education, retention, and professional enhancement programs.
As a liaison between the enlisted and leadership, Anderson said he hopes to make the biggest impact in Airmen’s lives in the areas of mentoring and personal and professional development, and not only for the benefit of their military careers.
“At some point in our lives, we are all going to take this uniform off, and when we do, what is next? I want our Airmen to be successful in their civilian lives and careers as well,” he said.
He is also a huge advocate for developing resilient Airmen.
“I am huge on mental health,” said Anderson. “You can have all the programs, policies, processes in place, but those will never be successful without the people implementing those processes. So, if those folks are not mentally, spiritually and physically well you will never have the best product you can possibly have. I want our Airmen to have the tools to not only take care of themselves but to take care of their co-workers, friends and families. Having Airmen who are well in all these categories only leads to a better force.”
It’s this excitement for Airmen, leadership and force development that made him stand out, according to Col. Rodney McCraine, 403rd MSG commander.
“He is ready to roll up his sleeves and get personally out there into the Group, talk to people and get to know them,” said the group commander. “This will help us with developing resilient Airmen, which is critical to maintaining a ready Agile Combat Support force. In addition, his experience above Wing level gives him a perspective that many do not have. He not only has the experience, but the drive and willingness to take care of Airmen and that is what will make him an outstanding group superintendent.”
This is one of many reasons Anderson was selected for the position, according to the command chief.
“His charisma coupled with his philosophies about mentorship and engaging Airmen were what struck the board most,” said Stift. “Sergeant Anderson wants to inspire Airmen to be the best version of themselves that they can be by first focusing on becoming that knowledge expert in their current position, but then increasing their skillset through development opportunities. In addition, he strongly believes in the Airmen’s voice and their need to be heard.”
Anderson said he wants Airmen to know that he is there for them and will use his experiences throughout his enlisted career to be their advocate.
Anderson enlisted in the Air Force in 2000 as a reservist and served as a health service management specialist in the 459th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, 459th Air Refueling Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. During his time with the 459th ARW, he served as an ART, unit deployment manager, drug testing program administrator, unit training manager, and a first sergeant. He was also activated in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and has served several tours on military orders with Headquarters Air Force. Looking for another opportunity for professional growth, his journey led him to the 403rd Wing in 2017 serving as the superintendent at the 403rd ASTS. In his civilian capacity, he works for the Directorate of Military Force Management and Policy at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
He’s no stranger to the challenges of being a traditional reservist and balancing work and family requirements. He said his Air Force Reserve journey is what will make him a better leader able to take care of his Airmen.
“I am down to earth and will never forget where I came from and who I came to the party with,” he said. “I will always try to be fair, transparent and honest.”