By Tech. Sgt. Francis Lalic, 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron
/ Published July 29, 2020
386th AEW Logo
Reaching the pinnacle of the enlisted force, members from the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron witnessed the promotion of the squadron’s highest enlisted member as Chief Master Sergeant Adam J. Boubede officially joined the Chief’s group during his promotion ceremony 30 June 2020 here at the base theater.
“We would not want to pass up the opportunity to recognize a leader, especially in the deployed environment,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jason Colon, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief.
Colon welcomed Boubede and emphasized the phrase, “never forget about the Airman as you were once one, you are one and always will be one.”
Established in 1958, the rank of chief master sergeant was set at 1% of the entire enlisted force by the U.S. Congress. These Airmen were leaders who possessed the unique talents and displayed the personal characteristics required to manage Air Force people and programs.
“Once a Chief, always a Chief,” added Colon. “You can never NOT be a Chief.”
According to the Military Pay Act and Federal law, chief master sergeant is the ninth, and highest, enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force, just above senior master sergeant and master sergeant; these ranks are known as senior non-commissioned officers.
By definition, all chief master sergeants are expected to serve as mentors for non-commissioned officers and junior enlisted members, and to serve as advisers to unit commanders and senior officers. The official term is "chief master sergeant" or "chief".
Boubede is from New Orleans, Louisiana, and enlisted in the United States Air Force in June 2003. He completed technical training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, as an electrical systems specialist and was one of the honor graduates from his class.
Starting out at Holloman AFB, New Mexico in 2004, Boubede worked as an electrical systems apprentice. While stationed there, he deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar. In 2007, he was assigned to the Materiel Maintenance Group as a quality assurance inspector.
Boubede then became a member of the Civil Engineer Maintenance, Inspection, and Repair Team (CEMIRT) based at Tyndall AFB, Florida.
In 2012, he held leadership duties in electrical systems at the unit level at Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona. From there, he moved to Osan Air Base, Korea, where he oversaw the Readiness & Emergency Management Flight.
During his military tenure, Boubede has served in a myriad of roles including additional-duty first sergeant and unit deployment manager. He deployed in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM and INHERENT RESOLVE.
Prior to assuming his current 386 ECES superintendent position, he served as the superintendent for the 627th Civil Engineer Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. He was responsible for leading, training, employing and organizing Airmen to execute installation mission support on the largest operational joint base in the Department of Defense. The Directorate of Public Works provides installation support to an Army Corps, two Airlift Wings, two STRYKER Brigades, Air Force and Army Special Operations units, the Western Air Defense Sector, and numerous Joint Service Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard units.
“Chief Boubede’s promotion was a culmination of 17 years of dedicated service to the men and women of the U.S. Air Force,” said Capt. Kathryn Stuard, 386th ECES deputy commander. “Throughout his career, he has embodied servant leadership and helped ever larger teams excel,” Stuard added. “This is a well-deserved accomplishment for a dedicated leader and it was an honor for me to be the presiding official to help recognize his accomplishments. I know he will continue to strive for the best for not only CE Airmen, but for Airmen across the force.”
Currently at ASAB, Boubede oversees staffing, upgrade training processes, and advises the CE commander on matters concerning morale, health, welfare, force and professional development for 440 military personnel.
“Chief and I have worked together 6 months here and I’ve learned a lot from him in the time we’ve had together,” Stuard said. “He’s a steady hand of reason as we redefine the ‘new normal’ in the times of COVID-19 and progressive race discussions.”
The newly arrived 386th ECES commander, Lt. Col. Lionel Lanuza congratulated Chief Boubede for his milestone and accomplishments.
“Chief Boubede will continue to lead Airman not only in the Civil Engineer community but in the greater Air Force,” Lanuza said. “I wish him the best and the continued success on his journey picking up Airmen, Squadrons, and Wings along the way to cultivate Airman-Warrior ethos of Integrity-Service-Excellence,”
As a new AF enlistee, what goals did you have in mind that you wanted to achieve? What course of action did you consider to achieve these goals?_
“When I initially joined the Air Force, my only intent was to get trained on a new skill, get some worldly experience beyond my home town, complete my Associates degree, and finish a 4-year enlistment to return back to civilian life. At the time I did not have much of a plan. I was ready to let life run its course and see where my journey leads me.”
What important lessons did you learn while deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar?
“Control what you can control and accept what you cannot. Every deployment comes with challenges and one of the biggest factors to helping you defeat those obstacles are the people that are on your team. I was fortunate to have a great team which made deploying easy. Beyond that, I learned how important your mindset is to effecting your behavior. Your mindset or mental framework absolutely dictates your behavior and can be either positive or negative. This effects your perspective and how you problem solve issues, both personally and professionally.”
Do you have any memorable experiences as a Materiel Maintenance Group QA inspector? Do you have any advice for the future inspectors who will be in this same position?
“I distinctly remember digging deep into AFIs and other DoD regulations to learn how we should be conducting business. This experience was very eye opening and I had the opportunity to be a part of administering different programs like AFSO 21, Safety, Equipment Accountability, HAZMAT, and many more. Having this early in my career helped me succeed in future roles, especially once I started filling NCOIC positions. One major mistake I made as a QA inspector at this point in my career was being too strict. I did not spend much time understanding why we were enforcing certain rules or policies, instead I spent time studying the rules so that I could enforce them. I believed that compliance was key to success. My advice to any current or future inspectors would be to first understand the WHY. Also, that when there is a trend of discrepancies, increasing enforcement of the policies does not always address the root cause of the issue. Your first priority should be to understand the mission of the organization and the reason for the policy or protocol, then focus on making change happen. Be open-minded instead of just a strict enforcer”.
As a CEMIRT member, what lessons have you learned from this experience and how did it affect your career?
“CEMIRT is a very small team, only 8 electricians who are responsible for performing inspections at Air Force installations across the globe. We typically traveled in teams of two for short, 1 or 2 week trips. This meant that trust, training, preparation, and communication were very important. The most impactful lesson I learned from this experience came after I moved into the NCOIC position. I learned how to truly accept responsibility and accountability. It was my responsibility to lead my team and help them be successful. I had to make sure they prepped and planned appropriately to execute the mission while geographically separated. For example, I viewed myself as responsible and accountable for every mission even if I were TDY a Base A, while we simultaneously had two other teams TDY at Base B and Base C respectively. I made sure that I owned the failure if something were to go wrong for one of the teams. While I might not have been physically present when the failure happened, I knew that the root cause of the failure could have been addressed by me and may have prevented the failure to begin with. And I vowed that each failure would be a lesson that the team could learn from so that it did not happen again.”
As the Flight Chief for the Readiness & Emergency Managements Flight, how did you spend your time these leading members who are outside your career field? Do you have any story would you like to share about your time at Osan?
“My time working with the Readiness and Emergency Management Flight at Osan was very rewarding and working with Airmen who were outside of my career field was a culture shock that I was not prepared for. Coming from the Civil Engineer Operations Flight, I had a very narrow mindset, and I failed to comprehend the full role of the Emergency Management Flight. I had to allow myself to be more open-minded and be very deliberate about learning the how and why behind all of the Emergency Management functions. I owe any success to the Airmen that I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead and I thank them for their patience, service, and excellence.”
Since you had various additional duties under your belt, what experiences or advice would you like to share to young members of the military who would like to follow your footsteps?
“Get outside of your comfort zone and do not just look for the shiny penny. Accept the challenges presented to you and do not be afraid to take risks. Adversity drives growth. Taking these opportunities will help you gain skills that are necessary to be successful through a full range of positions in your career.”
As a superintendent, what are the challenges you have experienced and how did you handle them? Do you have any advice?
“There are many challenges that you will face as a Superintendent. Each will be unique and the best way to be prepared for those challenges starts with knowing your Airmen. Learn their mission, their struggles and challenges. Do everything you can to eliminate obstacles and enable their success.”
As the ECES Chief, what advice would you like to share to the deployed CE members?
“Set goals for yourself and be deliberate about achieving them. Training is tantamount to becoming the best version of yourself and will ensure you are prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. General (ret) Stanley McChrystal explained an old adage ‘In combat, no one rises to the occasion; they sink to the level of their training,’ meaning that during times of crisis we all revert to the way we have lived until that point. We should prepare ourselves to dictate our circumstances in the environment that we operate within.”
The Chief’s Creed
Chief Master Sergeants are individually to be regarded as people:
Who cannot be bought;
Whose word is their bond;
Who put character above wealth;
Who possess opinions and a will;
Who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
Who do not hesitate to take chances;
Who will be as honest in small things as in great ones;
Who will make no compromise with wrong;
Whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires and interests;
Who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as prosperity;
Who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;
Who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular, who can say “No” with emphasis, although all the world is saying “Yes.”