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Advice from the vice: Gen. Chandler shares insights with cadets
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Carrol H. "Howie" Chandler speaks with first-class cadets at the Air Force Academy during an informal session in Fairchild Hall on Nov. 12, 2010. General Chandler is a 1974 graduate of the Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bill Evans)
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Advice from the vice: Gen. Chandler offers insights to cadets

Posted 11/18/2010   Updated 11/18/2010 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Don Branum
U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

11/18/2010 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force vice chief of staff visited the Air Force Academy Nov. 12 to share some of his leadership experience with first-class cadets.

Gen. Carrol H. "Howie" Chandler opened with a brief discussion of the Air Force's role in providing global vigilance, reach and power for the United States, then offered some tips to the soon-to-be officers in the audience.

Define objectives: "Airmen are very resilient, and they respond very well if you will simply define what they are required to do, and then enforce and apply the standards universally."

Lead in analog: "Face-to-face leadership is the best way to do business."

Keep an open door: "You'll be amazed at how many people walk in your door to explain the various problems in the organization. My advice to you is to listen, because if it's important to them, it needs to be important to you."

Listen: "As a second lieutenant, receiving can be much more important than transmitting."

Know your people: "You need to understand whether the folks who work with you are having a good day or a bad day, and understand enough about them to know if something is on their mind."

Say "thank you": "It doesn't cost you a thing to say 'thanks' to the young guys and gals who are working for you. We don't pay them enough, so there have to be some intangibles associated with being part of this organization, and part of that is recognizing them for what they do."

Be safe: "The two biggest ways we hurt ourselves are on motorcycles and in automobiles. But if you do things the smart way, you'll typically find that's the safe way."

Show maturity, always: "If you ever compromise your ability to lead, quite honestly, you'll never get it back, because your folks will not view you the way they used to."

Encourage loyalty: "When I say loyalty, I mean loyalty to the organization. Give of it freely, and expect the same in return from those who work for you. You need to create an environment where people are willing to speak their minds; but once we've made a decision, we all need to speak with one voice."

Offer solutions: "We encourage original thought, and we encourage prudent risk-taking. The word there is 'prudent' risk taking. Anybody can point out a problem; you need to be the lieutenant who can point out a solution."

Have fun: "Had I not enjoyed what I'm doing, I wouldn't have done it all the years that I have. A positive attitude is going to be important . Any organization you're a part of will take on the personality of its leaders and mirror them."

Take care of your family: "No matter what you do in the Air Force, once we hand you your last certificate, those are the folks who are going to be there, so you need to take care of them."

Take care of your people: "If you don't, you'll never get the job done."

Leave every job better than you found it: "That's how we've become the greatest Air Force in the world, and that's how we stay that way."

Seek a mentor: "Find a chief master sergeant and two cups of coffee, and let him educate you on what the Air Force is about. You have a great chief here at the Academy who can help you get started."

Seek self improvement: "Professional military education is important; a master's degree eventually is important. The Air Force offers a myriad of training opportunities that will benefit you, so take every opportunity."

As vice chief of staff, General Chandler presides over the Air Staff and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group. He assists the chief of staff with organizing, training and equipping approximately 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas.

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