USAFCENT speed mentors Team Shaw
By Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Brewer, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 02, 2019
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- In a dimly lit room full of bar stools and tables, strangers sit across from each other, sharing their successes and failures, at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, July 30.
For the senior enlisted who want an ‘inside scoop’ on how to promote and what the promotion boards look for, U.S. Air Forces Central Command chief master sergeants shared their knowledge to Team Shaw Airmen looking to progress in their careers.
“As chiefs, we’ve been on promotion boards and various other boards,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Kirby, AFCENT A3 aircraft control function manager. “I think it’s important for people to know what their plan is five years from now, four years from now and so on, that way we can give them a path to get there.”
Chiefs’ faces crinkled with happiness as they thought about their own successes and passed them on to Airmen, while others poured over awards packages and Enlisted Performance Report bullets, concentrating on solid advice for the career of the person sitting in front of them.
“We are making the arrangement of their EPRs better for these Airmen,” said Kirby. “You should be spending 10-20 hours on your packages and having multiple people review it for Air Force jargon and acronyms, so the bullets don’t lose those reading them.”
Master Sgt. Theodore Nichols, AFCENT A6 superintendent, said one of the chiefs told him to work on expanding out of his Air Force career by getting involved in organizations outside of his unit. Nichols said his mentor outlined and pointed out weak points, in his EPR, while also giving specific advice on how to challenge himself and grow.
“Anytime I can sit down and mentor Airmen, one on one, I enjoy it because I feel like it sets everyone on the right path and gives them the drive to go do what they need in order to succeed,” said Kirby. “It’s really important to have a mentor in the Air Force who wants to help you to the next level, so you don’t get stuck in the day-to day job.”
Nichols said he will start mentoring people outside of his AFSC and join the organization “top 3” to buff out his so called “weak points” according to the chief master sergeants’ advise.
“I think without this opportunity, many would not have an upper hand, or inner insight from those who physically look over our EPRs,” said Nichols. “If anyone wants to expand their career to move forward with some guidance and direction they could always reach out to Chief Master Sgt. Kirby. Any chief would be more than willing to give out their wealth of knowledge and help out a fellow Airman.”