As part of his Standing Watch tour, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein visited Minot Air Force Base, Jan. 2-3.
During the tour, Goldfein visited both 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing Airmen to recognize career fields that cover shifts 24/7.
“Not only are the Airmen at Minot (AFB) supporting the Air Force, but more importantly, they’re supporting the nation through their strategic nuclear deterrence mission,” Goldfein said.
Minot AFB was one of five bases visited during Goldfein’s Standing Watch tour.
“The Standing Watch tour is meant to get out and just shake hands and thank Airmen for standing watch,” Goldfein said. “America has the privilege of sleeping well at night because Team Minot doesn’t.”
Goldfein discussed the future of the Air Force and what that means for all leadership levels.
“The things that we have taken on together focuses on squadrons, making sure we truly understand it’s the heartbeat of our Air Force and where our culture resides,” Goldfein said. “This is where we generate readiness, focusing on that joint-leader development at all levels and thinking about the future of conflict, and how we do all domain operations.”
Not only was Goldfein at Minot AFB to visit watchstanders, he was also there to stress the importance of mental health. In working with Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth Wright, Goldfein and Wright have worked diligently to find the best way forward to address mental health issues.
“One of the things the Chief and I know and acknowledge is that there’s not one big program that we can inflict on the Air Force that is going to change things,” Goldfein said. “If we’re going to have meaningful change, it’s going to happen at the unit or flight level. Our job is to make sure we give the resources to command teams in the field and give them room to run based on the trust and confidence we have in them to get after this. I think we have made some progress, but we have miles to go.”
While they work together on this change, Goldfein also works on balance and mental health in his own way.
“My primary focus is presence – presence at work and presence at home. Be present and give your full attention. Be there, be present. That’s been really helpful for me,” Goldfein said. “I also try not to miss a day of (physical training). I find that if I miss a day, the day doesn’t go as well as when I get it in.”
He also had words of wisdom to share with young supervisors and leadership teams.
“The foundation of success in our Air Force always starts and ends with character,” Goldfein said. “So that’s the first and most important step. The second one is competence, which is making sure we are absolutely competent in our trade, to be the best we can be at whatever it is we are being asked to do at the moment.”
Sometimes it can be easy to get character and reputation confused, Goldfein said. While character reflects who someone is and how they live their life while nobody else is around, reputation is what other people think of someone after watching them.
“If you focus on (character) first, (reputation) takes care of itself,” Goldfein said. “The reverse is not always true.”
Overall, Goldfein believes in the Airmen at Minot AFB and was glad to have the opportunity to visit.
“It starts and ends here when it comes to nuclear deterrence, and I couldn’t be prouder of this team,” Goldfein said.