Climbing through the ranks

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

As I look back over my career I humbly tell you that as a young Airman I never imagined that I would be selected to serve our great United States Air Force as a chief master sergeant. 

It simply was not a goal I had set and to be honest with you, as Airman 1st Class LaTash Mason, I probably did not think I had what it takes to be a chief.  But what I did have was five Senior Non Commissioned Officers, including two Chiefs, and five noncommissioned officers at my first duty station on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington D.C., who took the time to shape what I consider the bedrock of my Air Force career.

See, my mother did a pretty good job instilling foundational principles which blended perfectly with our Air Force Core Values; however, it was those SNCOs and NCOs who took time to help me fully understand how they applied in our Air Force culture. They set the precedence for what I aspired to be and that was a leader.  I watched those leaders truly lead by example.  They consistently displayed every single facet of our Core Values without a second thought.  It was an inherent part of who they were and over time it became an inherent part of me. 

Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do unknowingly became my roadmap to chief master sergeant.   For me it is just that simple.  Doing what is right … at all times, being dedicated to our Air Force and its mission as well as my family, and trying to do my best … period.  I will also continue to be honest and tell you that Senior Master Sgt. LaTash Luzum, despite our Core Values, still faced and overcame challenges at various points in my career. It was in those challenges I learned valuable lessons, adjusted accordingly, often apologized, and in turn grew more confident in my leadership abilities.

Through it all, I did not lose sight of being a leader. Not just any kind of leader though, I wanted to be the type of leader that I was fortunate to have as an airman.  You, Air Force big “A” Airman, deserve nothing less. 

With you at the forefront of my mind and with the support of my family, I was able to achieve this milestone.  My selection for promotion to chief master sergeant is an honor and privilege that I don’t take lightly.  It’s not about me, it’s about you; I will not lose sight of that. There is no magic formula to promotion, but I do know that hard work does not go unnoticed.

With that, if you would have asked me five years ago if I thought I would be promoted to Chief, I would have told you no without hesitation.  Solely because it was not my focus.  So, do your part and do it with our core values in mind and I am confident that recognition and promotion will follow.