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ACC command chief
Chief Master Sergeant Martin Klukas, Air Combat Command command chief, impresses upon Tinker Airmen lessons in leadership during his Nov. 4 visit to the Airman Leadership School here. The highest ranking enlisted officer of ACC spent three days on base meeting, encouraging and thanking Airmen and answering questions. Chief Klukas was hosted by the 552nd Air Control Wing and the wing command hhief, Chief Master Sgt. Scott Magoon. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)
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ACC command chief speaks of sacrifice, strong enlisted force

Posted 11/12/2010   Updated 11/12/2010 Email story   Print story


by Brandice J. Armstrong
Tinker Public Affairs

11/12/2010 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- Chief Master Sgt. Martin Klukas, the command chief master sergeant for Air Combat Command, visited the 552nd Air Control Wing Nov. 3-5.

The mission-focused chief said in order to accomplish the objective and stay on budget, the Air Force needs the best and brightest Airmen out there.

"Something big on our plate is to manage the churn and thrash and deal with an environment that forces us to figure out what's most important," Chief Klukas said. "Today and in the future, we have to execute the mission and continue to invest in those things that are going to make us relevant. Sounds easy, but it is a major challenge for our force and Air Combat Command."

At his post at Langley Air Force Base, Va., the chief is the sole enlisted advisory representation to the ACC commander and his staff. There are 55,000 enlisted personnel assigned to the command. They are stationed within 27 wings, 17 bases and more than 200 worldwide operating locations.

During his time at Tinker, the chief said one way to manage the budget is to confront force management, which means trimming the force down to its end strength. For every 10,000 people over the end strength, it costs the Air Force $1 billion.

"That is huge," he said. "Wouldn't it make sense if you were paying the bills to trim the force -- selectively, obviously - and get down to the end strength so we're not paying extra?"

But, that's not to say he doesn't appreciate the Airmen and their families. The chief said the Airmen are incredible, making the mission happen every day.

"Thanks for what you do in the 552nd ACW every day," Chief Klukas said. "Thanks for your sacrifices, we ride on the shoulders of your young giants. We all take the credit of being on a Super Bowl team, a winning team, in large part due to the warriors who fly in the 552nd Air Control Wing and all those who support that mission. It's a big deal."

"The ties to combat here are just inescapable," the chief said. "They are just woven together--well connected to mission accomplishment."

To continue to be the best and brightest, Chief Klukas said Airmen should strive to be courageous, humble and to advance their education.

"Simply knowing what to do is not enough, it's having the courage to do the right thing and to lead in the face of change, particularly when it's unpopular." Chief Klukas said. "Humility is another great quality. Courage can sometimes equal cockiness, but if you team up courage with humility, you have a leader that doesn't come across as over the top."

Plus, education goes a long way.

"Take care of your education. It's a gift that keeps on giving," the chief said. "You can't be overeducated. Take advantage of all that the Air Force offers both in the civilian sector and our professional education."

"I had amazing leaders in my past that led me down the right paths. Some of the paths I chose not to take and if I had one thing to do over, it would have been to listen to some of my peers and leaders and to take advantage of the many educational opportunities! " he said.

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