Commentary: Why we wear the uniform…it’s all about service

By Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Caruso Command Chief: 27th Special Operations Command

I would first like to take this opportunity to say thanks to Col. Clark for selecting me to serve as your new command chief here at Cannon and the 27th Special Operations Wing. This is a dream come true for my wife Becky and me. We are truly honored to have been selected to help lead this wing to even greater heights and accomplishments. I can assure you that I will serve with honor and distinction and represent Cannon’s enlisted force with excellence and uphold the high standards it is well known for.

After my first week as your new command chief, I have to say that I am simply humbled by just how special our Cannon team is. I took time this week to think about what I should be thankful for, and I kept coming back to all the wonderful airmen, civilians, contractors and families who make up the Cannon community and accomplish our very special mission. My family and I are so thankful for all of our friends and family as well as being part of a great Air Force. We also took time out to remember all of our teammates that could not be home for the holidays. Let’s all try and remember our airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines downrange this holiday season.

As we say goodbye to 2010, I have to say what a great year we have had here at Cannon. Our team overcame so many challenges and performed with precision in all endeavors….the accomplishments are simply too long to list here. We are making Air Force history at Cannon as we bring on new special operations capabilities and resurrect this base as a fully operational installation in the DoD.

As I assume my new duties, some of you may wonder what I think is important and what are some of the issues I feel should be addressed. Obviously, like any good NCO, my priorities are the same as those of the organization and the mission. I am a big believer in what it means to be a sergeant in the Air Force and in that light, I think it all comes down to service. I always try to remember that we are here to serve others and the needs of the unit and the mission. Sometimes we get caught up in the moment and forget why we wear the uniform….it’s all about service.

Having said this, I am certainly passionate about some things. One of the greatest things I believe we can do as NCOs and senior NCOs is to not only be outstanding technicians and specialists, but to train and lead those airmen that will soon take our place. I also feel strongly that we have to look out for one another and those airmen that need mentorship and guidance.

These items are the very fabric of good NCO/SNCO practice. ….this is NCO business. Our appointed officer leadership relies on NCOs and SNCOs to carry out the task of training and leading our younger airmen so our Air Force and our military force can continue to answer the nation’s call whenever and wherever needed.

Setting and enforcing standards is another area that I feel strongly about when it comes to NCO and SNCO leadership. Lastly, I am passionate about what it means to be an airman in special operations today. To be part of our nation’s special operations mission is a privilege, not a right. Being an airman in the SOF community to me means we are sharper and more focused than a conventional force. I will look to educate and motivate the enlisted force at Cannon on our SOF truths and other concepts we hold close as special operations airmen in our Air Force.

Again, it is truly an honor to be your new command chief and I will work hard to communicate the wing commanders’ intent and guidance to our enlisted force so we can execute our mission with excellence and precision. I will be visiting your work sections soon to find out what issues need our attention as well and I look forward to meeting everyone on the Cannon team.

Thanks for all you do for our wing, our Air Force and our nation.

Have a wonderful New Year and be safe out there.