Airman spends day with command chief



by Staff Sgt. Sarah Loicano
Air University Public Affairs


8/17/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- As part of the Junior Enlisted Advisory Council shadow program, one of Maxwell's newest Airmen had an opportunity to spend the day with the 42nd Air Base Wing command chief Aug. 8.

Airman 1st Class Lance Thornton, an Air University computer programmer, was selected by a group of his peers to receive a one-on-one mentorship opportunity with Chief Master Sgt. Garth Meade. The council, which looks at the whole- person concept, selected Thornton for his community involvement and off-duty activities.

During his short time here at Maxwell, Thornton has completed his skill upgrade training. He also became a certified Air Force Combative Instructor Course, and will be teaching basic fighting skills to Air Force ROTC cadets. After he learned about the shadow opportunity from his supervisor, Thornton knew he wanted to the chance to spend the day with the top enlisted member on base.

"I wanted to keep an open mind for the entire day," Thornton said. "My only goal was to make sure that I listened and learned from the 27 years of experience that the chief brought to the table."

The shadow day started off with Thornton helping the chief raise safety awareness by holding signs reminding base drivers that base schools were back in session and that children would be in the area.

The chief also took Thornton on his base rounds, which he calls "out and abouts," stopping at the base Honor Guard, air traffic control tower and the Barnes Center, learning about the process of Career Development Courses. The visits serve as Meade's chance to interact with the enlisted force around Maxwell and Gunter.

"I'm excited about the program; it's an opportunity for me to give him a view of what's behind the curtain so to speak. It allows the Airman to see how things operate at the wing level, and it allows me to get that junior enlisted perspective," Meade said. "I visit places that don't get a lot of visitors and help the shadow understand why Maxwell is here, and our bigger mission, what makes Maxwell-Gunter important."

The JEAC is an organization provides junior enlisted Airmen through the rank of technical sergeant with mentorship and support, as well as offers an open forum to voice opinions. Their goal is to enhance professional growth by developing Airmen leadership, management and communication skills. Candidates for the shadow program can be nominated by a supervisor or first sergeant, and one nominee per unit per month is allowed.

For more information on the JEAC shadow program, or to nominate an individual, contact Staff Sgt. Maranda Tenpenny at 953-7822.