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News > Space Coast enlisted Airmen attain highest rank at special Cocoa Beach Induction Ceremony
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Retired Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Pannitto (center) lights a candle during the Chief's Recognition Ceremony March 2, 2012, in Cocoa Beach, Fla., symbolizing the achievement and honor of earning the highest Air Force enlisted rank.(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Natasha Dowridge)
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Space Coast enlisted Airmen attain highest rank at special Cocoa Beach Induction Ceremony

Posted 3/5/2013   Updated 3/5/2013 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Natasha Dowridge
920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

3/5/2013 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- Enlisted Air Force active-duty and reserve Airmen have their subtle differences, but the climb to the ninth and final rank requires the same dedication, resolve and hard work.

Charged with advising commanders with the morale, professional development and quality of life for all enlisted members, a newly pinned Air Force chief master sergeant and three chief selects assigned to Patrick Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station were recognized during a Chief's Recognition Ceremony in Cocoa Beach, Fla., March 2.

After putting in almost 20 years each, Senior Master Sgt. Drew Barber, assistant maintenance superintendent, 920th Rescue Wing maintenance squadron; Chief Master Sgt. Philip Lemaitre, operations superintendent, national reconnaissance office, Office of Space Launch, CCAFS, Fla.; Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Newton Jr., superintendent of equal opportunity for the 45th Space Wing, PAFB, Fla.; Senior Master Sgt. Marcia Scantlebury-Hall, superintendent of the 45th Force Support Squadron, PAFB, Fla., were recognized. Scantlebury-Hall is currently deployed overseas and was not present to accept her award.

"Being selected is truly a privilege but also a great responsibility," said Senior Master Sgt. Newton. "Leading Airmen is not just telling them what to do and when to do it, but it takes investment and cultivation. I'm looking forward to mentoring new Airmen passed the capacity of what they think they can accomplish and continuing to serve the Air Force I love."

Senior Master Sgt. Scantlebury-Hall had equal enthusiasm about being selected.

"I consider myself fortunate to have been selected to serve as a Chief. I look forward to new opportunities to help mold, mentor and lead our Airmen in that capacity as well as helping to strengthen the organizations where I am previous supervisors and experiences will be essential in helping me do that," she said.

Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, commander, 45th SW; Col. Jeffrey L. Macrander, commander, 920th RQW; 45th SW Command Chief Master Sgt. Herman Moyer; 920th RQW Command Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Bianchi, and many group and squadron commanders from PAFB and CCAFS were in attendance to show their support and congratulate the honorees.

Guest speaker Chief Master Sgt. Eric Jaren joined the Air Force in 1982 and retired in 2012. Joking about still fitting into his military uniform, he captivated the audience with his vivid experiences as a command chief and channeled wise words to the honorees.

So much has changed since he joined the Air Force, but, "the principles of leadership are timeless, " said Jaren.

"Integrity, relationships and perspective are tools that can be brought to bear on any problem at any time, and they define you," Jaren said. "You have been building those leadership skills your entire career."

Jaren shared some personal stories, namely his first flight in a fighter jet. In reflection he noted, "a chief is a chief, we all have different roles but every chief has a seat at the table and a voice to be heard."

"It (your voice) is so valuable because each chief speaks on behalf of their entire organization, not just the enlisted," he continued. "You have to advocate on behalf of your people, and when you do so make sure you're doing it with an Air Force perspective."

The chief also emphasized the importance of networking.

"Your network is like a weapon you can yield and with it you can get so much done," Jaren said. "Trusted relationships, they don't come by from just going to meetings; they take hard work, you have to invest in them you have to get to know people you have to build them and cultivate them..."

In his closing remarks, he told the honorees, "we need your leadership to take these Airmen through these tough times, and if you have the conviction, and if you have you the vision to see what tomorrow can be, our Airmen will follow you."

The ceremony included a candle lighting tradition, where each candle represented an Air Force enlisted rank in order from airman basic to chief. An Airman, a noncommissioned officer, a senior noncommissioned officer, and a chief were selected to light candles in their rank category.

After reciting the Airman's Creed, Moyer led the honorees in the Chief's Oath. The ceremony concluded with the audience proudly joining the newly inducted chiefs in the Air Force song.

Jaren left the chiefs with a bit of advice to: "Let your Airmen be your compass and you will always stay on the right path. Your Airmen deserve it."

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