54th Fighter Group hosts ‘Chief for a Day’

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Corinna Diaz
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

“I was told years ago as a Staff Sergeant that if you want to make chief, then you need to talk to a chief.”


Chief Master Sgt. Nathan Chrestensen, 54th Fighter Group senior enlisted leader, has set out to build stronger lines of communication between senior leaders and Airmen by hosting a ‘Chief for a Day’ program for his group.


This initiative allows an Airman each to shadow Chrestensen throughout the day to gain insight into the roles and responsibilities of a senior enlisted leader every quarter.


“There is no point in an Airman putting in time, effort and energy for over 20 years to gain a certain rank if they get there and are miserable with the type of duties they will be expected to perform,” Chrestensen said.


Airmen and noncommissioned officers who participate are able to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a leader and have an open dialogue with those in supervisory positions.


“It provides unfiltered access to a chief where they can discuss things they might not feel comfortable discussing in a public setting,” said Chrestensen. “The more open communication and transparency from senior leaders we have, the better.”


By showing Airmen what is expected from a senior enlisted leader, he also learns from Airmen what they need from their leadership.


Staff Sgt. Alexis Mayle, 314th Fighter Squadron aviation resource manager, participated in the program this quarter.


“I wanted to participate because I was on the edge of whether I want to stay in the Air Force and make it a career or get out,” said Mayle. “This gave me the push to keep my foot in the door.”


The program drives Airmen who have the potential to be great leaders in the U.S. Air Force to continue toward that goal.


“Chief for a Day is just one small piece of a larger, deliberate professional development mindset that we are trying to get after within the fighter group,” Chrestensen said.


Through programs like these, Chrestensen works to lead and develop Airmen both personally and professionally. With strong leadership, he helps to establish a well-rounded force which is prepared to work together to accomplish the 49th Wing’s mission of building combat-ready aircrew.


“Airmen make the mission happen,” said Chrestensen. “The more that leadership, regardless of level, genuinely invests in, cares for, develops and recognizes Airmen, the more trust, understanding and commitment those Airmen will have.”


Chresentsen advises those in any leadership position to take an active role in communicating with Airmen and learning their needs.


“It doesn’t have to be a chief that has this kind of impact on Airmen,” he said. “Show them that you care and that you value them and you will be amazed at the results.”