CMSgt Mark Bronson joins Team Charleston as new command chief

By Staff Sgt. Anthony Hyatt | 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Jan. 31, 2014

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. — In 1992, then-Airman Basic Mark Bronson began his career as a maintainer at Loring Air Force Base, Maine. Twenty two years, a new career field and a number of awards later, Bronson, now a Chief Master Sergeant, has returned to the East Coast to serve as the senior, Air Force enlisted leader for Joint Base Charleston.

On Jan. 5, 2014, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Bronson officially took over as the new command chief of the 628th Air Base Wing - replacing Chief Master Sgt. Earl Hannon. As the command chief, Bronson is the principal advisor to the commander on all matters of morale, welfare, readiness, professional development and operational utilization of the enlisted force.

Bronson is joined by his wife, Sharon, and his three boys: Christian, Andrew and Jonathan.

"My family and I have journeyed a long road over many years, to get to this point," said Bronson. "We're thrilled to be in Charleston and to be given the chance to lead from the front."

Bronson grew up in Windsor, N. Y., as the youngest of eight children.

"I grew up as a country boy on a small 180-acre farm," he said.

But Bronson actually grew up as an only child in the household. Because there was 10 years between him and the next youngest child, most of his siblings were already out of the house before he grew up.

Even though his brothers and sisters were out of the house, they still played a major role in his life. Bronson admits he owes them a lot for having helped mold him into the person he is today.

"Each of my siblings taught me a different talent and they each wanted my childhood to be different than theirs," Bronson said. "One of my brothers taught me how to draw and play chess, another brother showed me how to farm, another showed me how to throw a baseball and football and my sisters would take me places and buy me things - things my parents couldn't afford. They also took me with their families on trips and vacations. I hope they take pride in my successes, because they definitely contributed to them."

After high school, Bronson decided to attend college, which he did for only one semester at State University of New York, Broome Community College.

"My brother-in-law was an engineer for IBM, so he and my sister talked me into an engineering program," he said. "I was good at math and science, but my heart wasn't really into it."

As the first semester passed, Bronson decided to return to his old job working for a small auto parts store.

"My boss decided to hire me right back on. It's funny because she asked me about college and I told her I wanted to take some time off," Bronson said. "That's when she replied 'you'll never go back.'"

Those four words, you'll never go back, bothered the Windsor native, and he kept that phrase in the back of his mind as a motivator.

Bronson decided to join the Air Force in May 1992, where he started his career as a Munitions Systems Specialist. His first duty assignment was at Loring Air Force Base, Maine.

"I certainly look back on those days with good memories," the chief said. "There's a lot of camaraderie in the AMMO community. I had some great experiences which helped develop who I am, but I wanted to gain some additional skills and see what other opportunities the Air Force had to offer."

After five years in the maintenance career field, Bronson took advantage of the Air Force's retraining program, retraining into the medical career field: diagnostic imaging or X-Ray in January 1997.

At this point, Bronson was still unclear if 20 years in the Air Force was in his future.
In 2001, he retrained again, this time into the Diagnostic Ultrasound career field.

"With a couple of years working in Ultrasound, I knew my Air Force career was going well. I was blessed with promotions and the bottom line was that I loved what I was doing and serving in the Air Force," said Bronson. "At some point in your career, everyone realizes it's not just a job, it's a calling, and that time is different for everyone. The intangible benefits the Air Force offered couldn't be beat."

In March 2003, Bronson was selected to be an ultrasound technical training instructor, and eventually he was selected as the course supervisor. His assignments include bases in Maine, Germany, Florida, South Carolina, California, Texas and Colorado.

Bronson was able to achieve many of his educational goals early in his career. He earned four Community College of the Air Force Associate Degrees; Munitions System Technology, Radiology Technology, Instructor of Technology and Military Science, and Diagnostic Medical Sonography. In 2010, he received his Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education.

One thing the new command chief promises to bring to the table is dedication--dedication to the Air Force and the men and women of Joint Base Charleston.

"Everyone has heard the saying 'Leave the place better than it was before you arrived.' That philosophy has changed for me over the years, especially after I made chief," said Bronson. "I now believe 'You leave the people better than they were before you got there.' When the people are better, the unit will be too. It's about impacting the people you work for in a positive way."

In his more than two decades of service to the U. S. Air Force, Bronson has experienced many proud moments in his career - but one of his proudest moments didn't exactly happen to him, but instead to one of his troops.

It was in 2007, when Bronson, a master sergeant at the time, was the 21st Medical Support Squadron superintendent at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. He had just become the supervisor of [at the time] Senior Airman Abigail Tabita and he quickly noticed a discouraged Airman.

"I saw a very sharp young lady, who was extremely smart and motivated but was frustrated with past leadership," said Bronson.

Supervising the Airman, Bronson was able to provide stable ground for her. With hard work and professionalism, they were able to submit Tabita for several Air Force level awards in her career field. But his proudest moment came when Tabita attended Airman Leadership School and walked away with the highest award.

"To see someone so quiet and humble win the John Levitow award speaks volumes," said Bronson. "I don't think I ever jumped so high when they announced her name as the winner. To see an Airman defeated and to turn around, work hard and be rewarded was exciting."

"Obviously, making chief master sergeant and becoming command chief are very proud moments in my career and a huge honor, but the farther you get into your Air Force career, the less it becomes about you and the more it becomes about those you serve," he said.

They say actions speak louder than words and that can't be any truer than Bronson's achievements. With multiple honor graduate awards under his belt and numerous Air Force level awards, Bronson has proven he is more than capable of joining Team Charleston's leadership team.

Chief Bronson believes success can be achieved by following simple, but not always easy, steps - "Live by the core values, work hard and own it."

The Air Force core values need to be the foundation for your decisions and actions, he said. Almost always, when someone stumbles, it is because there was a breakdown in one or more of our core values.

Working hard and giving your best effort in whatever you are called upon is all we can ask of you, Bronson said, regardless of how big or small the task is.

"'Own it' applies to many areas. If you live in base housing or the dorms, own it - treat them and take care of them as if it was your own. When you are walking around Joint Base Charleston and see trash, pick it up - own it. As supervisors we need to own it when it comes to guiding, mentoring and developing those we've been entrusted to lead," the Chief said.

"Those things will carry you a long way, not just in the military, but in the civilian world and in life in general," he said. "If you carry those values, have a strong work ethic and own it regardless of how big or small the task is - you will be successful!"

The chief is currently making his rounds across Joint Base Charleston to meet the Airmen, Sailors and civilians who keep the base running and play a vital role in the defense of our nation.

"My family and I are excited to be here," said Bronson. "I look forward to meeting each and every one of the members of Team Charleston and working alongside you in the years ahead."