MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Roughly every two years, each Air Force Wing gains a new command chief. For MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, that time has arrived.
On January 5, 2018, the 6th Air Mobility Wing said farewell to the outgoing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Melanie K. Noel, and welcomed the incoming command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Sarah A. Sparks.
Sparks arrived from Dover AFB, Delaware, where she served 21 months as the command chief. This was also her first time serving in Air Mobility Command.
“I am humbled and very excited to be here at MacDill.” said Sparks. “I look forward to learning about our 6 AMW mission, how our Airmen accomplish the mission, and how we support our mission partners.”
Sparks began her career as a supply material management journeyman and eventually found her way to becoming an Airman Leadership School instructor.
During her time there, she discovered her passion.
“I found a passion for teaching while I was an ALS instructor for four years and received a degree in education,” said Sparks. “This led me to later become a commandant of the Noncommissioned Officer Academy in Hickam, Hawaii.”
As the new command chief, Sparks has already met with various leaders throughout the Tampa Bay community and her passion for leading has become infectious among MacDill Airmen.
“I thought she shared some incredible concepts with our ALS class,” said Staff Sgt. Sierra Ellis, an Airman Leadership School student. “One concept focused on the four badges we wear on our uniform and which one we lead with, which is extremely important especially as we transition to becoming brand new NCOs.”
Ellis was one of many in MacDill’s current ALS class, 18-B, who were visited by Sparks. The Chief shared with them her experiences along with some leadership tips.
“I explained to them that we are identified by four things on our uniform, regardless of what uniform you wear,” said Sparks. “One is your rank, your two name tapes, and your badge.
“Then I ask, which one do you lead with? When I focus on leading with my Air Force name, it helps veer me in the direction I need to go. I think the most important part of leading is understanding which badge to lead with.”
According to Sparks, she shares Col. Vogel’s priorities of communication, professionalism, and respect. Through these, Team MacDill can be a more effective team.
“We are so excited to welcome Chief Sparks to the team,” smiled 6th Air Mobility Wing commander, Col. April D. Vogel. “Her passion for leadership and developing Airmen will be a great fit in the 6 AMW and we look forward to working with her!”