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New 460th SW command chief embraces 'family'

Chief Kruzelnick

Chief Kruzelnick

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Standing in his office for only a few seconds, it's apparent the new command chief is a fan of the New York Giants. There's a flag, a helmet, two large posters, old-school bobble head, and a Mr. Potato Head dedicated to his team. To top it off, he even sports a Giants wallet.

Chief Master Sgt. Brian P. Kruzelnick is the new 460th Space Wing command chief, and he loves the New York Giants. However, he comes to Buckley with more than just a passion for sports. That passion extends to advancing the mission, developing leaders, and taking care of Airmen and their families. 

Kruzelnick joined the Air Force in 1994. His childhood in the rough neighborhoods of Passaic, New Jersey, made him desire a path that would build his character and give him purpose.

"Passaic, New Jersey, in the '70s and '80s was not Disneyland,"Kruzelnick said. "I wanted to be a contributor. I wanted to be part of a team. I wanted to make a difference. The Air Force gave me the structure and discipline I needed to be a successful person."

Kruzelnick worked on aircraft his entire Air Force career and is no stranger to taking on a leadership role. As an aircraft maintainer, he has filled the role of lead technician, production expediter and superintendent. Having served in the Air Force for almost 21 years, Kruzelnick's professionalism and dedication hasn't gone unnoticed.

Promotions and a Bronze Star for his advisory role in Afghanistan are some of his personal achievements. However, if you ask the chief what he's most proud of, his answer would not be an accouterment he wears on his uniform.

"The thing that trumps personal achievement every day of the week is helping people," Kruzelnick said. "Every time I get an opportunity to help somebody, to make them better or help them work through a problem, is the proudest moment I have. Any award or personal achievement is second-fiddle to being able to look at somebody and say, 'I was able to help them be better.'"

Kruzelnick has seen firsthand the importance that every Airman plays in the overall mission and is driven to help Airmen reach their highest potential.

"I understand that being a command chief is a huge responsibility," Kruzelnick said. "With every person that I go out to see on this base, I need to make sure that they have what they need and their family has what they need to be successful."

As a father of three, he understands the importance of family. He believes families carry the heaviest burden when it comes to sacrifice because they didn't choose this career but have to deal with what it entails, explained the chief.

"We chose to be here, and I will happily do it every single day," Kruzelnick stated. "But for our family, they didn't choose to be here, so they are sacrificing. They do it with a smile on their face and a warm place in their heart to serve. They love it.

"We need to embrace that," Kruzelnick added. "The Air Force is a family affair,"

For many families, the evolving Air Force has created challenges and questions of uncertainty. However, despite the changes currently unfolding, Kruzelnick only sees light at the end of the tunnel.

"Every Soldier in the Army is a rifleman first because that is their core mission set," Kruzelnick said. "As far as I'm concerned, every Airman in the Air Force is a leader first. This Air Force was built on innovation and executed by great leadership. The only way we're going to make it through these uncertain times and rapid changes is if every Airman in their area is a leader ... and I know they're ready for that challenge!"

Kruzelnick is ready and excited to take on his new responsibilities and the challenges of today's Air Force.  He will do all he can to support the Airmen and their families on Buckley, he stated.

"Some days you're gonna have the agony of defeat, and other days you're going to stand tall like a champion," Kruzelnick said. "It's important to remember that during both days you are never alone, and you are always equally supported from your family, to your supervisor, through this wing's leadership, all the way up to (Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James) Cody and (Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark) Welsh."
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