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The Calvin Conversation: Q&A with new command chief

Chief Master Sgt. Steven Calvin, command chief master sergeant of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing.

Chief Master Sgt. Steven Calvin, command chief master sergeant of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Chief Master Sgt. Steven Calvin received the position as the wing's new command chief from the new wing commander, Col. Donald S. Wenke.

After joining the Alaska Air National Guard in 2003, Calvin worked his way through the 176 Air Control Squadron, and most recently served as superintendent of the 176 Operations Group.

The public affairs staff met with Chief Calvin to get a sense of the approach he brings to his new position.

Tell us about the responsibilities of the command chief.

Basically it's two-fold, but interconnected. First and foremost I am the enlisted voice to the wing leadership, and further to Joint Force Headquarters. The second thing is to provide advice and counsel to wing leadership on issues related to the enlisted force.

I'm here to help and it's as simple as that. It's always with the understanding to use the chain of command, but I'm here to help. It's important to empower people to solve issues at the lowest level, giving them the opportunity to solve problems is a part of their professional development, and they are usually closer to the action than I am. But I'm here to help ensure the enlisted members have the support and information they need for their personal and professional development.

What's it like being the 176th Wing command chief? Is it what you thought it would be?

I didn't know what it was going to be like. It is humbling first of all. It's a humbling experience to realize you have so many to take care of. It's also exciting in the sense that you have the opportunity to help people.

I appreciate all the hard work and efforts of my predecessor, Chief Streit, in helping the wing through some challenging times.

What are your goals as command chief?

Besides supporting the goals of the governor, the adjutant general and the wing commander, I want to focus on two areas.

One is improving the strategic communication throughout the wing - getting the right information to the right people at the right time.

The second thing is to ensure every enlisted member gets the feedback that they need and deserve for their continued personal and professional development.

This is your first opportunity to speak to the wing. What do you want to say?

I want to give people the opportunity to be successful, because those opportunities were given to me. We have standards we must adhere to, but everyone makes mistakes. It's how you approach a person after they've made a mistake. It makes for better leaders down the road.

Don't ever let anyone minimize what you bring to the fight. You can make a difference. Step up and do it. People will follow leaders regardless of rank.

If this is just a job for you, give us a chance, get to know us. You never know what sort of opportunities are going to present themselves in the future.

I will never be able to repay the Air Force and the Air National Guard for the opportunities I've been given. If you're willing to invest in us, in what we're about, that investment will be repaid many times over.
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