Joint Base Charleston


Meet the new 628th ABW command chief

By Airman Jared Trimarchi | Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs | January 12, 2011

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- In a rectangular office nearly as immaculate as the oval office sits the desk of the 628th Air Base Wing command chief.

On the wall opposite of the door, an American flag is proudly displayed. To the left of the door, an all black high-definition flat screen TV hangs on the wall, but is seldom used because the occupant is too busy. To the right, hangs what stands out most - a military training instructor hat with a powerful, blue rope around the top.

"Looking at that blue rope on my hat, I see a symbol of excellence in military deportment, and I see a symbol that reminds me nothing is impossible," said Chief Master Sgt. Jose LugoSantiago, command chief for the 628 ABW, Joint Base Charleston.

Standing more than six feet tall, with the piercing brown eyes of a lion and a uniform as sharp as a blade, Chief LugoSantiago is a man who is taken seriously. He is the principal advisor to JB CHS Commander Col. Martha Meeker on the development and utilization of more than 1,000 service members.

Chief LugoSantiago didn't start off knowing he would have a star on each arm, but he had people that helped mold him and inspire him, he said.

"As a military training instructor, I met a command chief, Chief Isakson, who was a great inspiration in my life," Chief LugoSantiago said. "You always knew whenever Chief Isakson was around because he had a powerful presence, and I wanted to be like him - a command chief who is sharp and a great thinker."

But, Chief Isakson wasn't the only one who brought inspiration, he said. The theory that mentorship comes from the top down, isn't always accurate.

When he was a master sergeant competing for his blue rope, Chief LugoSantiago had a mentor who was a staff sergeant, he said.

"He was an inspiring MTI, and I asked him to teach me to become better," he said. "I expect all service members to be inspiring, no matter the rank."

MTIs learn about people, the human spirit, discipline and organization, and being an ex-MTI has helped Chief LugoSantiago do his job efficiently, he said.

"In my job, I'm going to instill discipline in our service members," said Chief LugoSantiago. "It's important to demand high standards, unleash the human spirit and ignite the fire in our service members so they can accomplish any task or goal. I read a quote by Michelangelo that says, 'I saw an angel in the marble and I chiseled until I set it free', and I thought, that's how we need to be as supervisors. But at first you never see the angel, you only see a rock. You need to see the potential in somebody before you can start to chisel, then set him free."

As the command chief, Chief LugoSantiago has plans he wants to accomplish, but he can't do it himself, he said. Service member development is his most important goal.

Chief LugoSantiago would like to start a group that focuses on enlisted service member's heritage, he said.

"Our enlisted force has done so much for this Air Force and Navy, and I want to create a monument to highlight enlisted Airmen and Sailors," Chief LugoSantiago said. "When I leave here, I want to be able to say the community is better, the families are better, our service members are more developed and our quality of life is better. I don't know if a service member under me is going to be an MTI, the next command chief, or the president, but I want to make sure he or she is more prepared than I was. Like me, you never know where your career can lead you or who you will meet, but you must always stick to your core values."

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