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Command Chief executive’s unique position provides valuable insight

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- With a lot on her plate, she takes it in stride. Having to coordinate and plan the schedule of a command chief master sergeant can be a daunting task.

As the executive assistant to the command chief, Staff Sgt. Charlotte R. Teitelbaum helps 460th Space Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Brian Kruzelnick accomplish the goals and responsibilities set forth for that position. From making his schedule and communicating his message to subordinate leaders to helping him accomplish wing-level programs and accompanying him on temporary duties to bases around the country, Teitelbaum and the chief work as a team to get things done.

"(Sergeant) Teitelbaum has a tremendous work ethic and sense of humor," Kruzelnick said. "She can balance a huge amount of high-level tasks, ensure that I'm not missing anything today and for the rest of the week, mentor every Airman waiting outside my office to see me, and still manages to have a smile on her face and a quick-witted joke.

"She is cool under pressure and does outstanding work," the chief added. "Bottom line, she is a great Airman but an even better human being."

An animal lover from Texas, Teitelbaum joined the Air Force in 2005. Originally a bioenvironmental engineering tech, she applied for the position of executive assistant to the command chief and accepted the year-long duty in June 2014, looking to improve herself and her career.

However, not everything came easy to Teitelbaum right off the bat. It took some time for her to learn the intricacies of her new position.

"Initially, I was flying by the seat of my pants," Teitelbaum said. "I had a lot of learning to do. There are so many programs that the command chief is in charge of and you have to juggle all that and make sure he is where he needs to be when he needs to be there."

Despite the day-to-day challenges she faces, she said the amount she has learned has been invaluable.

"It's a busy job, but it's a very good job," she said. "A lot of people just do it for an (enlisted performance report) bullet; but I wanted to learn, and I want to improve on my career."

On a typical day, Teitelbaum puts in 10 to 12 hours every day, with each day bringing new and unknown challenges.

"The one thing about this job is you never know what's going to come down," Teitelbaum said. Sometimes tasks will come down through the command at the end of the day, and it will be due before we go home that day.

However, she said she enjoys her position because of the amount she has learned, the people she has met and the fact that she can work unabated.

"Definitely the best thing for me is being trusted enough to do everything without being micromanaged," Teitelbaum said. "You're pretty much on your own and have to be proactive in this job, and I like that."

As one might expect, there are many challenges Teitelbaum has faced as the executive assistant to the command chief. However, she said she feels the most difficult parts of her job have been handling all the awards on base.

"The most mentally challenging part of my job is dealing with the awards program," Teitelbaum said.

The command chief runs the awards programs on base, which includes below-the-zone promotions, Stripes for Exceptional Performance, and quarterly and annual awards. A lot goes into preparing and organizing these awards, and Teitelbaum makes sure everything runs smoothly.

"It doesn't seem like a lot until you get into it and you realize you have to collect all these packages, you have to coordinate with all the different agencies, which is difficult because Team Buckley is so vast with all its mission partners," Teitelbaum said. "I have to call the Marines and get their representative, call the Army, the Navy, the Coast Guard, all of them."

Teitelbaum acknowledges the difficulties of the job but also recognizes and enjoys gaining a broader understanding of how things work in the Air Force from the top down, she said.

"It is really interesting because I have learned so much from having an eagle-eye view and seeing things from the top instead of from the bottom up," Teitelbaum said.

"It is a really good experience in that sense because when I go back to my job, I can explain to my troops why this happens or why that happens."

Teitelbaum only holds this position until June 2015, but her career progression will not end with this role. Her initial sights are set on making technical sergeant, however, she has even larger aspirations set beyond that.

"Short term goal, I want to make tech," Teilelbaum said. "After that, I really want to knock out my pre-requisite classes and go to school to become a nurse through the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program."

At the end of the day, Teitelbaum said she has been enjoying her year-long position. The indispensable experience has given her greater insight into the operations of the Air Force and will benefit her for years to come.

"Teitelbaum is invaluable to our wing and installation success," Kruzelnick said. "She executes many roles on a daily basis, from meticulously organizing my schedule and keeping me on track to a conduit of information from our base's lowest ranking Airman all the way to the office of the chief master sgt. of the Air Force.

"There really isn't a wing program that she doesn't somehow touch or facilitate," he confirmed.  "I would be lost without her."
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