Chief's Chat: What I wish I knew

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Chris Barnby
  • 403rd Wing

What is one thing I wish I knew before coming into the Air Force? That was a question asked of me during a recent New-Comers briefing. I can’t even recall my answer at the time, but the question has continued to ring in my head like a bell.

Narrowing my answer down to just one thing was difficult, but after careful consideration, I’d have to say I wish I knew that I was empowered.

When you are empowered, you become a stake-holder in any organization. I’ve sat in the same seat as every Airman and heard the same thing: "We want to hear from you how to make things better." I never spoke up, but I wished I had. I wish I knew that I was empowered to make things better, to leave a place better than the way I found it. There is always room to do something different, better.

Now, I’m considered one of "them," but I’m empowered and not just by rank. I’m empowered because I’m an Airman, just like you.

You’ve heard me say that you’re empowered, that this is your wing. If there’s an idea out there to make the 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, United States Air Force better, I want you to feel empowered to give it momentum. It will demand time and effort on your part and it may even be uncomfortable at times, but that is where growth is enriched. I wish I knew that!