by Senior Airman Jake Eckhardt
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
7/25/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The
375th Communications Group met their newest commander--Lt. Col. Michael
Cote--during a change of command ceremony June 26.
The commander shared his leadership philosophy, which consists of four
things: mission, people, professionalism, and teamwork. He said all of
these are critical to realizing where each person fits in the
"It's important to see where you fit in the mission," he said. "I have
airfield maintenance guys who directly affect the mission. Then in many
cases, we have Airmen who are three or four layers deep, so it's harder
for them to see where they fit in. But when you can see how you
contribute to the mission, it makes you take more pride in your
organization, while taking care of those around you."
His view on leadership also relates to what he expects out of his
Airmen. The core values are what make up the Air Force and we should be
held to that standard, he said.
"I expect dignity, fairness and respect from my Airmen," he said.
"That's a good foundation for any situation you should run into. We are
all professionals, so I expect professionalism just like they should
expect it from me."
The commander said that the Airmen should expect the same qualities out
of their leader, and they shouldn't be afraid to ask for help or speak
"I want my Airmen to push up the problem if you're not getting the
intended result," he said. "If you don't get the answer then you are not
serving those below you. There is nothing worse than an unasked
Out of all the people he looks up to, he said his leadership style is considerably derived from two people.
"I have been reading a lot about Abraham Lincoln. From what I've read,
he led us through, arguably, one of the hardest times of our history. He
also had a real personal touch. He didn't want people to come into his
office; he was often the guy who was with the people. He understood
people's strengths and weaknesses."
He said his other role model is his father.
"My father taught me a lot about life lessons, values, integrity and
work ethic," he said. "We only had one car, so he worked down the street
in a tool and dye shop. Every once in a while, he would take me there
to show me everything. He encouraged me to be better than what I am."
"When I was either eight or nine, we were walking to the shop, and he
asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told him that I wanted to
work in a tool and dye shop. He looked at me and said, 'I want you to
do better than that.' It took time for me to understand that, but really
he was just challenging me to be the best I could be."
Cote is originally from Maine. He enlisted in 1986 and received his
commission in 1992 as a distinguished graduate of the University of New
Hampshire ROTC Program. His first assignment was Keesler AFB, Miss.,
where he attended the Basic Communications-Computer Systems Officer
Cote's other assignments include serving as the commander of the 39th
Communications Squadron at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey; coalition C2
interoperability action officer, deputy chief, strategic engagement
division, command, control, communications computer systems directorate,
the Joint Staff at Washington D.C.; and commander of the 332nd
Expeditionary Communications Squadron, Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
His last assignment before arriving at Scott was as the chief,
capabilities and planning division, defense information system agency at
Fort Meade, Md.