DEL 4/Det 1 insight on different leadership mantras

  • Published
  • By U.S. Space Force Senior Master Sgt. (select) Karl Musick
  • DEL 4, Detachment 1 senior enlisted leader

Developing a leadership philosophy is easier than you think.

Out of necessity to effectively communicate with our team, we find fun, exciting, and most importantly, relatable words that turn into a unit mantra for our organization. When looking back on my career, there are two people that influenced my leadership philosophy and they’re more than just buzz words to me. ‘Attitude’ and ‘Intent’ is the mantra that I’m charged with instilling in my team.

This philosophy was first motivated by Master Sgt. Melvin Peele Jr. As a young Airman, he was my first supervisor and mentor in the Air Force. He taught me how to focus my energy and effort on accomplishing team goals. More importantly he showed us daily, by example, what a great father, husband and senior NCO looked and acted like. Constantly balancing the team’s wins and losses and moving us from deployment to deployment across South America and the Gulf of Mexico. He taught us Airmen how to be professional and have fun; we knew no matter what challenge we had in front of us we were going to accomplish it well and have fun doing it. Go into every task with the best attitude you can -- a crappy task gets no easier when one puts their needs ahead of the team. The first value of my leadership philosophy, Attitude, was built off of the teachings of Master Sgt. Peele, or “P” as known by everyone whom called him friend, who was taken from us too soon in a workplace accident. I often think back on his teachings, mentorship and guidance with the hopes that I’m living up to and emulating the things that I valued most in my relationship with him.

Senior Airman Adam Razani is another Airman who sparked intrinsic change in my “why?” A first generation American born to refugees of the Iraq-Iran conflict, Adam was one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. Multi-lingual, played half a dozen musical instruments, the smartest guy in every room and somehow still had one of the highest motors I’ve ever seen in a person; he was literally brilliant. While deployed to Afghanistan with Adam, he was the person who had food shipped to him to feed starving dogs because he wanted to do something good. He spoke with the local Afghan National Army members (in Dari); then found ways to help them solve problems with no expectation of a returned favor. They built us a bench to sit on during breaks from our shipping container turned communications work center. He was always doing something to make life better. Even vacuuming out sand from the office far more frequently than was required. He always intended to do the right thing and it was visible daily. Over the course of 191 days, we had only 17 minutes of unscheduled downtime and it was literally because of the intent to do great within the team and a couple NCOs who tried to keep up with the drive of Adam. Adam lost his battle with the invisible scars that come with serving in a warzone, but his legacy and the values that I learned from him live on in the stories that I share and in the memories of those who cared for him.

DEL 4, Det 1, responsible for providing 24/7 Satellite Communications (SATCOM) support to DEL 4’s Missile Warning mission, continuously churns out some of the best Satellite Communications (SATCOM) technicians I’ve seen in my career. In DEL 4, Det 1, it’s all about having a positive Attitude regardless of task and doing everything with Intent. I believe the most difficult people to lead are those that are truly hungry to succeed. Over the span of my three-year stint in Det 1, we’ve turned out a dozen SrA Below-the-Zone winners, a couple Officer Training School selectees, two DoD award winners and successes at every level in between. I like to think that P and Adam are still guiding me today and watching over my team as we pursue our goals. We all have good and bad days, but having a good attitude and an intent to do good go a long way towards moving the sticks forward on every new set of downs.