Military News

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Be true to yourself

by Tech. Sgt. Mike Slater
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

8/6/2015 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- 31 years, 28 days. Chief Master Sergeant Doug McIntyre, Command Chief, Air Force Space Command, has served a long career.

"I've been extremely blessed to love what I do for my entire adult life," said Chief McIntyre. That's why it's important to him not to short those 28 days. Those 28 days have been productive, too.  The Air Force recently announced the Education with Industry program would be open to the enlisted force.

Education with Industry is a program that dates back to the beginning of the Air Force, starting in 1947.  The program has long placed Airmen with the Defense Industry to expand their knowledge. Commissioned Officer Airmen, that is.

"Opening Education with Industry to the enlisted force just reinforces what I think is the thing that has been the most positive change since I've been in the Air Force and that is the growth of the professionalism in the enlisted force," said McIntyre.

"I have been reflecting lately on what I have seen these last 31 years, 28 days and what I have really seen is a transformation in the enlisted force. When I came in we were not the professional force we are today. Today's enlisted force is highly educated and to see the jobs and responsibilities that enlisted people are tackling now compared to when I came in has just been an honor to see."

Chief McIntyre said another positive change the Air Force has made is in equality.

"When I came in, there was just all kinds of tension, racial tension, gender tension, there was officer and enlisted tension. Just tension," said McIntyre.  "Today's Air Force, I like to call it the Equal Opportunity Air Force, because anybody who comes in, regardless of their background, has a shot to go as far as they want to."

Chief McIntyre has some simple advice for Airmen that may find themselves on a path preventing them from reaching their professional or personal goals.

Be true to yourself.

"My first base was Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. I was far from home for the first time and I kind of fell into a pattern of partying.  That wasn't who I was, I was just going along with my peer group," said McIntyre.

Chief McIntyre said after a weekend of partying and feeling sick he sat down and wrote a 2-page letter to himself.

"I still have it. It was about who I was going to be and what I was going to stand for.  I was challenging myself; I had the ability to great things, but I was going through life easy, half-stepping. So I challenged myself to not settle and really put in the effort to be somebody," said Chief McIntyre.

"Be true to yourself, that goes for Airman Basic all the way to 4-star General. Be true to yourself."

Finding a mentor is also an important step to becoming the person Chief McIntyre wanted to be.

"Mine at that time was Darryl Tabor, he was a Senior Airman and it was his second base, so to me, he knew everything."

Tabor got the young McIntyre out of the dorms and into athletics and other things.

After leaving Alaska, McIntyre got to go on temporary duty to an Operation Bright Star exercise in Egypt.

"That was the first time I really knew and could feel the whole big picture," said McIntyre. "To watch us fall in on a bare runway and within a week we were flying sorties; seeing the ability of the Air Force to go anywhere and project this power was amazing and it brought it all together for me."

Chief McIntyre said there is one torch he would like the Air Force to carry forward after his 31 years and 28 days are up, stability.

"If I could wish for one thing for the force it would be stability. There have been many, many changes just in the time I've been AFSPC Command Chief. Between sequestration, force shaping, changing promotions, changing Enlisted Performance Reports, Professional Military Education.  The Air Force is constantly changing and the Airmen are used to change," said McIntyre. "But what I'd like to see is stability. I think the Airmen want it and they need it."

"Let's sit back a bit and see if all the changes we've done are going to yield what we think it's going to yield. If there's a major change needed to something we've done, tweak around the edges, but we need to steady the force."

When asked what he will miss most, Chief McIntyre's answer was easy and quick.

"The Air Force is full of amazing people at all ranks. That's what makes us World Champions, it's not the equipment, it's not the technology, there's not anything that makes the United States Air Force the World Champions, other than its people," said McIntyre. "That's the one thing I'll miss the most, the people."

In retirement, Chief McIntyre will move to North Carolina with his wife and daughters.

"As anyone who serves with a family knows, it's a family affair. The family definitely makes sacrifices. I owe my family, but especially my wife and my daughters, a huge thanks for their support and sacrifice," said McIntyre. "The hardest day I ever had in uniform was leaving the Azores to deploy for a year to be a deployed Command Chief. My daughters were 7 and 9 and they were literally hanging on to me, trying to stop me from getting on the plane."

Chief McIntyre will continue to mentor through the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in North Carolina. But he will always cherish his Air Force career, all 31 years and 28 days of it.

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