Military News

Monday, October 26, 2015

Former AFGSC Command Chief bids farewell

by Tech. Sgt. Ave Young
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

10/26/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- After 30 years of service, the command chief of Air Force Global Strike Command retired during a ceremony held here Oct. 22.

Chief Master Sgt. Terry West assumed the AFGSC Command Chief position in January 2014, charged with the responsibility of advising the AFGSC commander on all matters affecting professional development, training, combat readiness, utilization, morale and mission effectiveness for more than 31,000 Airmen assigned to AFGSC bases and units.

West previously served as Command Chief Master Sergeant for 8th Air Force here, and the Senior Enlisted Leader for Task Force 204 for U.S. Strategic Command at AFB, Nebraska.

As he retired from active duty, West asked Airmen to remember those close to them, no matter what life throws at them.

"Make sure you never lose sight of those things that really matter," West said. "I'm not going to have to stand at my retirement ceremony and apologize to my family for all those things, because I tried to make the ball games, the parent-teacher conferences and the recitals. So stay focused on the things that really matter in life."

As the AFGSC Command Chief, West focused on major developmental programs, ensuring command personnel were prepared to provide nuclear deterrence operations and flexible global strike options to combatant commanders worldwide.

As he looked back on his career, the chief recalled three significant events: his first deployment, becoming a supervisor and starting a family.

"My first deployment taught me to rely on others and work together, not only to survive, but to get the mission done," he said.

He took the skills he learned in working with others with him as he began to supervise others.

"As a supervisor, you're responsible for the development and lives of others. That's why it's important to develop yourself and your skills because you're developing tomorrow's leaders," he added. "I relate it to the airplane oxygen mask. Put yours on first before you can help somebody else.

But as much as he enjoyed developing others, for West, family came first.

"Having a family taught me the work/life balance," he said. "You really have to make an effort to do your job and then separate yourself from it when you go home."

Throughout his career, West said he always tried to focus on the Airmen, getting to know them and learning what they contribute to the mission. During his time at Global Strike Command, he continued to focus on Airmen development through the Striker Stripe professional development program. He also visited with Airmen at every AFGSC base, discussing their challenges and how the command could assist them in doing the mission.

"The thing I'm going to miss the most is meeting with the Airmen in their duty sections and seeing that pride they show for their expertise," said West. "We have an amazing group of Airmen in our command."

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