Through the lens: MacDill's Leadership Shadow Program

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jenay Randolph
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Approximately 16 Airmen from MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, have experienced the Air Force through the eyes of the 6th Air Mobility Wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Lusson, as part of the Leadership Shadow Program since Jan. 7, 2015. 

This program gives top-notch junior Airmen and officers an opportunity to shadow Chief Lusson and Col Daniel Tulley, 6th AMW commander, for a day and witness first-hand what it means to lead in the world's greatest Air Force.

"We wanted to give the selected Airmen an opportunity to spend an entire day, once a month, observing and accompanying the base leadership during our daily interactions," expressed Lusson. "It helps to give them a bird's eye view of how the wing operates on a daily basis and an opportunity to see through the lenses of its leaders."

Every day, Airmen wonder what exactly a command chief does on a daily basis or how does their job contribute to the overall mission. Shadow Day is a good way to help Airmen understand how the wing operates at the strategic level by assisting them in seeing why and how decisions are made and how the outcomes of those decisions impact the operations of the wing.

Most importantly, the purpose of the program is to provide assistance in identifying and developing young leaders who have the skills to eventually lead at leadership level. 

"Coming from maintenance, I was under the impression that he [Chief Lusson] mainly dealt with aircraft missions and numbers and reviewing reports, while compiling numbers to ensure the wing is on track for the monthly and quarterly quotas," voiced Staff Sgt. Matthew Smith, 6th Maintenance Squadron quality assurance inspector. "I completely dismissed the rest of the base, which is a lot more information for him to possess."

However, after spending a day in Chief Lusson's shadow, Smith was able to understand that  while flying may be the primary mission, everything else is just as important in order for the wing to succeed.

"It's a different time and a different Air Force than when I came in 23 years ago, but I have no doubt our Airmen are the most talented they have ever been and will continue to amaze us if given the opportunities to do so," expressed Lusson. "This program is another opportunity for them to continue to grow on their professional journey as a leader in our Air Force."

Regardless of what your specialty is in this wing, every Airman's job is important and critical to the overall success of the mission and are all linked together. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so everyone should perform to the best of their abilities each and every day in order to keep the chain strong.

Through the Leadership Shadow Program, MacDill is ensuring that the future Airmen of our Air Force possess the experience to lead when it is their time.