AETC command chief shares vision, priorities

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Beth Anschutz
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
Air Education and Training Command’s newest senior enlisted leader, Chief Master Sgt. David Staton, recently shared his vision of a successful tour as command chief.

Staton took the reins as command chief in January but is no stranger to the First Command.

Service to AETC is woven throughout Staton’s career. In all, he has spent more than half of his 28 years of service within AETC, to include assignments as a military training instructor, an instructor at the MTI schoolhouse, a basic military training squadron superintendent and two command chief positions, one at the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and most recently for 2nd Air Force at Keesler AFB, Mississippi.

Staton said although he is familiar with the majority of what the command accomplishes day-to-day, he is looking forward to learning even more about certain mission areas, such as Air University at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, where he immersed himself in the AU mission during a recent base visit.

“I have learned the AU machine is very complex and what they do day-to-day is critical to the success of the professional development and education of our Airmen across the Air Force,” Staton said. “I am very excited to learn more and support the first-class, intellectual and leadership center of the Air Force.”

Staton said he is also eager to learn more about the recruiting mission, where the command’s mantra of “Airpower starts here” couldn’t be more true.

“I look forward to learning more about how the recruiters operate and attract our country's finest, and how I can best help them accomplish their mission,” he said. “Recruiters are the face of the Air Force where there is little to no Air Force presence. It’s important for me to know how I can best support them.”

Staton said AETC is on a great path and his goal is to keep moving forward with the command vision to forge innovative Airmen to power the world’s greatest Air Force.

“I plan to pick up the ball and move it forward, as best I can, by working very closely with our phenomenal commanders, chiefs and leaders in AETC,” Staton said. “As the Air Force's First Command, we must continually help our Airmen to be more creative and find innovative means to effectively and efficiently prepare our newest Airmen to fly, fight and win.”

The chief said his main priorities are in line with and support the strategic goals of Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, AETC commander. Roberson released the command’s 2016 Strategic Plan in January listing his vector areas as motivational mission accomplishment, taking care of Airmen and families, innovation, and leadership.

Staton believes the key to leadership is support and communication.

“I have a very basic leadership mentality; lead your Airmen, support them in their professional and personal life and help them grow,” he said. “The most important and meaningful way to do this is simply good old fashioned, day-to-day, face-to-face contact with our Airmen, at all levels. I want supervisors to see their subordinates face-to-face every day, to the largest degree possible.”

Staton said he is also focused on the Developmental Special Duty Program for which AETC plays a huge role. In 2013, 10 positions were designated as DSD because of the unique leadership roles and responsibilities they hold, which involve mentoring and molding future Air Force leaders.

“Being that AETC has more than 90 percent of DSD positions I am extremely invested in continual improvement of the program. We are right in the middle of taking a hard look at the number of military training leaders in the command, as well our professional development of these outstanding non-commissioned officers,” he said. “It doesn't stop with MTLs though. We need to make sure we have the right manning and opportunities for our ROTC cadre and staff, as well as our recruiters. Trust me, there is plenty to do, and we have the right leaders in place to get after these opportunities.”

The chief said he believes the basics of Airmanship are what sets us up for success; following and trusting in the chain of command, pride in appearance, taking care of each other and properly supervising are the tasks Airmen should be striving to do right every day.

Staton said if the Airmen of AETC should know anything about him, it’s that he is a product of what he learned from his MTIs in basic training.

“I still stand up when a second lieutenant, who is as young as my son, walks into a room because that is what we are supposed to do. I take pride in my uniform because it represents the United States of America and our great Air Force. I walk on the left side of someone senior to me. I am a loyal servant to those I follow and those I lead and I take out my own trash,” Staton said. “In other words, I don't ever want to forget where I came from and I make an effort to conduct my business with that in mind.”

The chief concluded by expressing his thanks for the opportunity to lead the enlisted men and women of AETC.

“I couldn't be more proud of the Airmen and families that make up this command. From our men and women in uniform, to our civilians and contractors, every single person and job counts and has a direct influence of keeping our Air Force the greatest in the world,” he said. “My family and I will do our best to make our Airmen proud.”