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CSM Alston visits, inspires Team Buckley Airmen

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Alston, United States Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, and U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Brian Kruzelnick, 460th Space Wing command chief, look over the 460th Space Wing leadership board during a base tour Feb. 26, 2016, at headquarters on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston spoke with Buckley Airmen about what it takes to be effective leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Alston, United States Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, and U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Brian Kruzelnick, 460th Space Wing command chief, look over the 460th Space Wing leadership board during a base tour Feb. 26, 2016, at headquarters on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston spoke with Buckley Airmen about what it takes to be effective leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, speaks to Buckley Airmen Leadership School students Feb. 26, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston discussed ways to become effective leaders, such as forming relationships with their troops and learning to understand the new generation of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, speaks to Buckley Airmen Leadership School students Feb. 26, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston discussed ways to become effective leaders, such as forming relationships with their troops and learning to understand the new generation of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kelci Tolson, Airmen Leadership School student, discuss leadership roles Feb. 26, 2016, at the Airmen Leadership School on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston used different scenarios to teach Airmen about becoming more effective leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kelci Tolson, Airmen Leadership School student, discuss leadership roles Feb. 26, 2016, at the Airmen Leadership School on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston used different scenarios to teach Airmen about becoming more effective leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, stands with Team Buckley Airmen Feb. 26, 2016, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston used the lunch hour to discuss leadership with Airmen from every rank tier. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, stands with Team Buckley Airmen Feb. 26, 2016, at the Panther Den on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston used the lunch hour to discuss leadership with Airmen from every rank tier. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Z. Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, speaks at a senior NCO call Feb. 26, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston spoke with senior NCOs on how to connect with younger Airmen and mold them into more effective leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Patrick Z. Alston, U.S. Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, speaks at a senior NCO call Feb. 26, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Alston spoke with senior NCOs on how to connect with younger Airmen and mold them into more effective leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - -- Command Sergeant Major Patrick Z. Alston, United States Strategic Command senior enlisted leader, toured facilities and met with Team Buckley Airmen Feb. 26, 2016, at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado.

During his visit, Alston spoke with Airmen through the rank structure about how to improve their leadership skills and connect with their troops.

"I hope they, the Airmen, truly understand that they are a value added to us," said Alston. "We could not do what we do each and every day without them."

The visit included meeting with students at Airmen Leadership School, a lunch with Airmen and a senior NCO call.

"He was motivating, definitely inspirational," said Senior Airman Joseph Smith, satellite operations technician at Detachment 45.

During his time with the Buckley Airmen, Alston showed that forming working relationships and connecting with people is how to make them feel comfortable and put their best foot forward.

"I think the major take away for today's mid-grade and senior leaders is to take the time to understand this generation," said Alston. "Take the time to understand what they stand for, how they think and how they operate."

Alston spoke with various Airmen, giving them all a similar message: Do not try to make service members fit the military processes, adjust the processes to fit the members.

"What he talked about was finding a way to connect with young service members and I tell you that is exactly what I saw him do out there," said Chief Master Sergeant Joseph Stratil, 460th Operations Group superintendent. "It is impressive because the most important thing we do as senior NCO's is prepare the next generation. We are handing the keys over to them."

Improving the next generation of Airmen and modifying the norms of the military were strong points that Alston made during his time at Buckley AFB. He wanted Airmen to realize the importance of what is happening on Buckley and that they are the reason the base and the space mission are thriving.

"The visits are important because troops are tired of lip service; they want to see leaders," said Alston. "They want leaders to be involved with them and to know that they care. The only way you can get that is face-to-face contact."

Alston used his time on base to connect with Airmen and to help them understand their importance.

"I know it inspired a lot of people," said Smith. "Buckley will be better after his visit."

Zeroing in on leadership and relationships with troops, Alston hopes to have made an impact on Buckley that will change how Airmen on every level work together and how they address their troops.
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