Great Leadership

  • Published
  • By Lt Col. Michels Pryor
  • 311th Training Squadron Commander
At the last NCO academy graduation, we were pleasantly surprised to have the fifth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, Robert D. Gaylor, officiate. While he is retired, he still continues to serve as a great enlisted leader.

Chief Robert D. Gaylor is a man who lives standards, and does so with a smile and a kind word. Yet judging by the way he spoke and carried himself, he is tough as nails.

This day his task was simple, to officiate the diploma ceremony, the last event before final retreat at the NCO academy. Although simple, Chief Gaylor ran the ceremony in an exemplary fashion.

Chief Gaylor conveyed buoyant energy, zeal for Airmen, and a bit of humor in his few opening words. He made his objective clear: to honor the NCOs who were about to walk the stage for, as he said, "a once in a lifetime event."

His actions during the ceremony spoke louder than his words.

Chief Gaylor greeted more than 200 NCOs in a manner resembling a proud parent. He didn't hesitate to stop the ceremony to allow family members and friends the opportunity to take a good picture. He kept his smile without hesitation when a camera flash took a few seconds to recharge or when a two year old wouldn't smile on cue. It would have been easy for him to keep the line moving to prevent awkward moments or make the ceremony breeze by. Instead, the Chief stopped everything to hold an NCO by the arm until his wife got the picture she wanted and he continuously made sure every NCO and their families were taken care of.

His presence and energy reminded me of the best in all of us as Airmen. He remained focused on his mission and demonstrated a profound caring for Airmen. As leaders we should strive to be like Chief Gaylor; demand that the job be done right and take care of people as we do.

Thank you Chief for continuing to lead the way, and exemplifying the Air Force core values.