By Command Chief Master Sgt. Maurice L. Williams
State Command Senior Enlisted Leader
There’s one thing about being a leader that is a must: you have to keep moving forward. Otherwise, you soon find yourself behind the people you’re supposed to lead.
This is true not just in a physical sense. If you are going to be a leader in the Kansas National Guard, you have to keep learning, keep growing, keep moving forward in your career.
To that end, we have scheduled a Joint Enlisted Symposium Aug. 29-31 at the Regional Training Institute in Salina. Eighty Soldiers and 30 Airmen staff sergeant/tech sergeant and below have been selected by their leadership to attend this professional development workshop designed to help them move forward on their career path.
During the workshop, we will discuss a variety of key issues and engage in such activities as capability/resiliency training, combat dining in, evaluation writing, suicide prevention awareness, Professional Military Education/educational requirements, and other team building events. The overall goal is to instill a joint cohesive organizational mindset, provide a forum to exchange ideas and opinions, and to seek ways of implementing initiatives and methods toward mission accomplishment.
It is of special note that this is a joint workshop. The Army and the Air Force may have different missions, but our overriding purpose is the same – to protect the health and safety of the people of Kansas and the United States. To achieve this mutual goal, it is essential that the Soldiers of the Kansas Army National Guard have a clear understanding of the missions and capabilities of their Air Guard counterparts and vice versa.
Soldiers and Airmen are not rivals, we’re partners who may often find ourselves working side by side to carry out the important work we do. That is why joint training such as this is so important. Not only do we learn the same things at the same time, we develop a sense of unity that is vital to making us one team.
This joint mindset is reflected in our leadership structure. I am a member of the Air National Guard, but I am responsible for the welfare of all our Soldiers and Airmen. Our adjutant general comes from the Army National Guard, but he superintends the direction of both the Kansas Army and Air National Guard.
Even more telling is that we all, no matter what uniform we wear, recite this same oath on the day we enlist. “I …do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
One oath, one team, one mission. It is the responsibility of each member of the team to do all he or she can to keep advancing in their career path, to learn all they can and be a leader that will help the team carry out its mission.