"I'm All In - Are You?" New Command Chief Hits Ground Running
By SSgt Erin Brogan, 143 Airlift Wing
/ Published February 02, 2010
09/19/09 -- Chief Master Sergeant William McGovern, Jr., the newly appointed 143d Command Chief, is settling into his new office in P-1 here at Quonset, but doesn't plan on sitting still too long.
"I want to be remembered as an engaged Chief, in tune with the enlisted force. I want to roll up my sleeves and get to know as many of the enlisted I can, and gain their trust because I earned it," he said.
Key to representing the needs of the enlisted, Chief McGovern hopes to emphasize the need for mentoring, especially from the senior enlisted ranks downward. And true to Chief McGovern, he has the experience to prove it; he knows first-hand the value of leading by example.
"My first supervisor, Sgt. Mark Leduc, was hard on me, but he pushed and instilled a good work ethic. He excelled and showed me how to get to where I wanted to be. He taught me how to set a goal and to accomplish that goal," he said. "Chief Master Sgt. Usry, my instructor at the First Sergeant Academy also had a profound impact. He was a squared-away individual who showed what a long way that goes. Even down to wearing my cuff links in my blues--it's because of him."
He acknowledges the hardships many 'traditionals' face in the guard culture, juggling deployments, civilian and military schools, families, and jobs. As a traditional guardsman himself and a veteran of numerous operations including Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and Just Cause, Chief McGovern can empathize with the difficulties of juggling the civilian world with the military.
"That's where the value of mentoring comes in. The senior enlisted help mentor the NCOs [non-commissioned officers] who help mentor the airmen. We all need to lead by example," he said.
Chief McGovern started his Air Force career in 1987, serving four years as an active duty law enforcement specialist at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In 1993, he joined the air national guard as a security forces specialist. In 2004, he entered the First Sergeant career field as first sergeant for the 143d Security Forces preparing him for his current position.
"It's all about taking care of the enlisted force, advising the command staff what the enlisted force needs; it goes hand in hand with being a first sergeant," said Chief McGovern. "It's a logical progression."
"Being a First Sergeant has been the highlight of my career," he continued. "I had so many opportunities to make a difference, to change someone's outlook. It could be as simple as a verbal counseling when someone wasn't performing at peak, to watching them turn around and give their all. It is an extremely rewarding career field."
Chief McGovern replaces Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Potvin. Before Chief Potvin, only two others have represented the enlisted force as command chief at the wing level: Chiefs John Germamia (ret.) and Peter Waddington (ret.).