News>Chief's Shadow Day gives Airmen new perspective
Senior Airman Travis Pruett, left, listens as Chief Master Sgt. Nathan Peachey talks about the 379th Air Expeditionary Operations Group June 22. The two were paired together for “Chief’s Shadow Day.” The goal of the program is to develop and mentor future Air Force leaders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Ryan Kruse)
by Master Sgt. Ryan Kruse
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
6/27/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- With breakfast in hand, an airman and chief head to an open table and sit across from each other in the dining facility.
As they begin eating, the airman has no idea that Chief Master Sgt. Nathan Peachey, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Operations Group Superintendent, has twenty-two years of aviation experience as a KC-135 in-flight refueling operator or that he has logged over 4.5K flying hours.
Before the chief finishes his morning coffee he will learn that Senior Airman Travis Pruett, 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, has been in the Tennessee Air National Guard for nearly 4 years as a flight medicine technician and ultimately wants to become a KC-135 pilot with the 134th Air Refueling Wing in Tennessee.
The two were paired together as part of Chief's Shadow Day.
"It was wonderful," said Pruett. "He told me what I needed to do in order to get into the pilot career path. "
After breakfast, Chief Peachey took Senior Airman Pruett to meet the operations group commander and visit the air traffic control tower. The opportunity gave the airman a chance to see and experience real world operations here at the 379th, meet with leadership and experience something different from his everyday responsibilities in the flight medicine office.
According to Chief Peachey, days like this are why he enjoys his job.
"It's really about the airmen," explained Peachey. "We want to take every opportunity to guide and mentor. We try to make ourselves approachable so that we can have those conversations and give airmen the information they need."
Senior Master Sgt. John Elstrom, 379th Air Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron, introduced the program to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing because of the positive impact it has on airmen.
"Chiefs have a responsibility to mentor and cultivate future Air Force leaders," said Elstrom, who received his line number for chief last year. "I had a lot of mentoring along the way and I see this program as one way to 'pay it back', as well as 'pay it forward'."
The program wasn't limited to the Air Force. An airmen interested in becoming a warrant officer in the Army teamed up with a sergeant major.
"They almost had to fill out a missing airman report because I was going to add him to my team," joked Sgt. Maj. James Lewis, 11th Air Artillery Brigade Operations sergeant major.
The person responsible for bringing the program to the wing understands its importance and hopes for even more participation next time.
"I'm really excited to see where the Rising 6 and Desert Chiefs take this program," added Elstrom. "When I came into the Air Force, there was no Chief's Shadow Day. It was termed things like 'tough-love'. I was fortunate to have a Vietnam-era technical sergeant take me under his wing. His leadership and mentoring had a huge impact on my career."