Joint Base Charleston


What does it mean to be a leader?

By Master Sgt. Luella DeLee | 1st Combat Camera Squadron acting First Sergeant | January 21, 2015

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Recently I was given the privilege of becoming the acting First Sergeant for the 1st Combat Camera Squadron. I am biased to this squadron and am excited to have the opportunity to help such a unique group of individuals. This squadron has endured many challenges, but the young Airmen continue to rise above the task at hand and I credit their leaders at every level. Great leaders continue to lead during difficult times; they are courageous and candid in their delivery but always professional.

I find some people believe that once you are promoted, you automatically become a leader, yet leadership comes in all ranks. It doesn't take several rooftops, gold or silver insignias to make you a leader. A leader doesn't think twice about doing the right thing and they always put others before themselves and display the core values in their everyday life. It is not walking around saying you have integrity and reading leadership books. Leadership is a virtue that comes without knowing it, you do it without thinking twice. It is giving of yourself for the advancement of the people around you.

I have worked with several great leaders, to include young senior airmen that led teams in Iraq and Afghanistan while briefing and giving status updates to senior leaders.

Some of these senior airmen were promoted to staff sergeant during the last cycle. As new Non-Commissioned officers, they are entrusted with providing direction and purpose to accomplish the mission. Some of these young adults might still be learning how to be an Air Force Airman, but we still expect them to quickly learn the duties of an NCO. It is an important task that should not be taken lightly. Not only is accomplishing the mission important to become a better leader, but new NCOs must understand the importance of taking care of those under their supervision. We are responsible for the welfare of our Airmen. Once we lose sight of our main task we have lost sight of our main mission. We have a loyalty to our nation, the military and the unit, but most of all to our Airmen.

Finally, a leader is someone that has ethics. They are not pressured by self-interest and they do not feel pressure from senior leaders. They just do the job. As stated by my fellow First Sergeant, Senior Master Sgt. Mark Peters, a leader is one that is accountable. They are accountable for their actions and the actions of those they lead.

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