CSM Alston visits, inspires Team Buckley Airmen
By Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Spradling, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 02, 2016
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.