GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Chief Master Sgt. Lavor Kirkpatrick invited Chief Master Sgt. Stefan Blazier to visit him at the 17th Training Wing, and after reuniting they were able to talk about ways to update and increase efficiency in training before Airmen go out to their first permanent duty stations.
Chief Master Sgt. Lavor Kirkpatrick, 17th Training Wing command chief, has been stationed at Goodfellow three times, all of those which coincided with Chief Master Sgt. Stefan Blazier, 363 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing command chief.
Kirkpatrick explained that by being stationed together at Goodfellow as instructors, the chiefs formed a bond that began as competitiveness for some of the same awards. That competitiveness turned into a desire to help their wingman succeed.
“We realized that it wasn’t just about competitiveness, it was also about completing the Airman beside you,” said Kirkpatrick. “By realizing that, we were able to become better and help each other improve not just through competing, but by encouraging as well.”
As a part of their return to Goodfellow, Kirkpatrick and Blazier were able to tack their name tapes to the Heritage Hall instructor board in the 315th Training Squadron, home of the rattlers. This board is used to honor instructors who have taught at the squadron over the years. This is the squadron that they both came through as trainees in technical school and later returned as instructors at as well.
“It has been so interesting to see both of them grow and lean on each other for different outlooks on situations,” said Kirkpatrick’s wife, Michelle. “They will reach out to each other to get a different perspective on a situation, something that may not be their natural instinct at first.”
While reminiscing about their past, Blazier noted that they were not fast friends at first.
“When I initially saw this guy I thought ‘You know, I wished that I didn’t have to deal with this guy,’” said Blazier. “I don’t think it was until Goodfellow that our relationship really changed for the better.”
They were not just at Goodfellow together, they have also been stationed in California, Korea and Germany at the same time as well.
“I am best friends with Stephan’s wife,” said Michelle. “We have been so many places together, and that isn’t always the case in the Air Force. You may cross paths but you don’t always see the super tight community that these two have.”
Over all, through all of the ups and downs of being competitive then helping each other grow, Blazier remarked that he wouldn’t want to change any part of it.
“I consider it one of my biggest blessings in life now,” said Blazier. “Everyone in the community knows of “KP and Blaze”, our families have grown up knowing each other and it has been incredible.”