F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE – Senior leaders from units assigned to 20th Air Force attended a semiannual Senior Leadership Conference (SLC) at F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, on Oct. 6-7.
Major General Michael Lutton, 20 AF commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Charles Orf, 20 AF command chief, welcomed wing commanders and command chiefs from F. E. Warren AFB, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and Minot AFB, North Dakota, as well as the command team from the 582d Helicopter Group, F. E. Warren AFB for the two-day event. The command team from the 576th Flight Test Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, California attended virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as did other senior leaders assigned to the headquarters.
Dr. Jeremy Prichard, 20 AF historian, kicked off the event with a guided discussion on the innovative environment that Gen. George C. Kenney fostered in the Southwest Pacific Theater during World War II. Attendees also heard presentations from 20 AF staff, including one on ethical leadership and ethical drift from Col. Shannon Sherwin, 20 AF staff judge advocate, and another on next fiscal year’s strategic calendar from Capt. Cory Seaton, 20 AF chief, future operations and programs.
The group also received briefings from Dale Steenbergen, Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce CEO, on ways military leaders can improve outreach to their local communities; retired U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph Looney with expertise addressing diversity and inclusion in the branch; an assessment on the current geopolitical situation in South Asia from Professor Feroz Khan, research professor at the Naval Postgraduate School; and from administrators at Kent State University who highlighted the ways campus leaders there have attracted and retained college students.
Following the latter presentation, Airman 1st Class Deandre Brown, Minot Airman Dorm Council president, shared a few ways he and his team could incorporate some of the tools applied at Kent State University to his facilities.
“I believe having your dorm resident assistant (RA) there for you regularly after Airmen get accustomed to the dorms wold not only provide continuous support, but also eliminate the idea of ‘being on your own’ once you’re settled in,” Brown said.
Orf encouraged commanders and command chiefs to bring along junior officers and enlisted Airmen who have demonstrated leadership qualities. This was an opportunity for younger members to learn about the challenges their command teams face and observe how to problem-solve at a strategic level.
One takeaway from 1st Lt. Esther Ku, 898th Munitions Squadron munitions accountable systems officer, at Kirtland AFB, was appreciating how senior leaders “are intentional and deliberate about taking care of our Airmen.”
“I was surprised to learn how much leadership is concerned for the well-being, livelihood, and development of the Airmen, particularly after the lengthy discussion over improving dorms for those living on base,” said Staff Sgt. Kory Talbert, 898th Munitions Squadron.
Capt. Melinda Kerr, 20 AF aide de camp, commended leadership’s willingness to share these impactful conversations surrounding the ICBM force with junior officers and enlisted Airmen “who will lead this capability into the future.”
“It was rewarding to be invited to attend the conference and know that my hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed by my leadership,” said Tech. Sgt. Clifford Daniel, 741st Missile Squadron missile facility manager, Minot AFB.
“Despite a global pandemic for the last seven months, our striker Airmen have excelled at mission accomplishment across our nuclear enterprise,” said Lutton. “Our leadership team remains committed to setting a command climate where integrated operations increase lethality, all Airmen and families are developed and cared for, and our team continues to lead in all facets of nuclear surety and security. Chief and I are truly humbled to lead and be a part of this amazing team!”
The next 20 AF SLC is scheduled for April 2021 at Kirtland AFB.