Best of the best

Base Info
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. John Payne, 18th Civil Engineer Group first sergeant, is congratulated by Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, 18th Wing command chief, Dec. 8, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Leaders selected to the rank of chief master sergeant represent one percent of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lynette M. Rolen/Released)
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. John Payne, 18th Civil Engineer Group first sergeant, is congratulated by Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, 18th Wing command chief, Dec. 8, 2016, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Leaders selected to the rank of chief master sergeant represent one percent of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Lynette M. Rolen/Released)

Best of the best

by: Senior Airman Lynette M. Rolen | .
18th Wing Public Affairs | .
published: December 21, 2016

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Anticipation and excitement fill the air as a bus full of chief master sergeants and 18th Wing leadership drives across base, arriving at different locations for a special purpose.

Eight of Kadena’s senior noncommissioned officers were recognized for their selection to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant Dec. 8.

“It was exciting and very emotional at the same time,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, 18th Wing command chief. “It was great to hear these humble leaders speak so passionately about their Airmen and of course their families. I really enjoyed seeing the families react and celebrate because they do so much for us and our Airmen.”

As the bus arrived at different squadrons, wing leadership congratulated the promotees and invited them to speak with their fellow Airmen about the accomplishment.

“It’s always exciting to get selected for promotion,” said Senior Master Sgt. Collin Baulch, 18th Munitions Squadron production flight chief. “It’s one of those things that’s a goal in your life and when it happens, you are excited to see what will happen next in your career.”

Baulch spoke of how leadership throughout his career and family got him on this path to success.

“My first supervisor really got me on this path,” said Baulch. “He made sure everything was precise, and that built throughout the years and now I can name 20 supervisors and chiefs who pushed me in one direction or another throughout my career.”

Chief master sergeants make up one percent of the Air Force enlisted tier.

“We don’t promote our Airmen because we ‘think’ they are ready,” said Ditore. “We promote them because they have the leadership qualities required and have already demonstrated their abilities to lead and take care of Airmen.”

Baulch mentioned his own leadership style has been adopted from supervisors and leaders who took care of him as an Airman.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our newest chiefs,” said Ditore. “But at the same time, I couldn’t have higher expectations. It’s an absolute honor and privilege to serve and our Airmen should be proud of their new chiefs as well, because it‘s their hard work and amazing accomplishments that made this happen.”