AFRC's new command chief discusses philosophies, time at Homestead ARB
By Ross Tweten, 482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 17, 2013
HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- As the previous command chief master sergeant of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Cameron Kirksey is preparing to assume his new role as the command chief of Air Force Reserve Command.
Kirksey said he's very humbled, honored and excited to be selected by Lt. Gen. James Jackson, chief of Air Force Reserve and AFRC commander.
"Homestead has a bright future and I hope to bring that excitement to AFRC to help the entire command grow and improve," said Kirksey.
Kirksey said one of the first items at the top of his list to improve quality of life is sexual assault.
"Sexual assault is a high priority for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force," said Kirksey. "As such, it's a high priority for General Jackson and myself.
"Zero tolerance; there are no exceptions," he added. "We will prosecute to the full extent of the law. Hopefully, victims will feel vindicated and rest assured their Air Force is behind them and they can come forward and defend their rights without hesitation."
Kirksey also noted the encouraging markers of force development.
"I've noticed a renewed 'blue-ing' throughout the command," he said. "I know within 10th Air Force, Homestead ARB is definitely leading the charge with Total Force Integration. Great teamwork models and esprit-de-corps are immediate products of TFI. Homestead is definitely setting the standard for future TFI implementations."
As Kirksey settles into his new role, he said communicating well and continuing to reach out to Airmen are vital to his leadership style.
"You can't do this job sitting behind a desk," he said. "You have to be out front. You have to listen and have an attentive ear.
"They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care," he added. "You have to make sure that when you look your Airmen in the eye, they can see that you're a genuine leader. I'm all about being a servant leader."
Kirksey is saying goodbye to Homestead ARB after two years as its command chief. He emphasized the fond memories he's taking away with him.
"The best part about my time at Homestead was unequivocally the people," he said. "In terms of its people, Homestead has great stock. I'm leaving behind a fantastic team, and I know the folks of Homestead will continue to help the base grow and succeed in its mission."
Along with praising members of Homestead ARB, the chief also praised the city of Homestead and local community for the exceptional relationship they have helped develop with the base.
"Homestead's Military Affairs Committee and Chamber of Commerce have done a simply amazing job," he said. "They opened up the doors and really developed ways we can best support each other. Every military installation or unit is a subset of the community. It's vital for bases and units to partner up with their community. We're here to support each other."
According to Col. Donald Lindberg, 482nd Fighter Wing commander, Chief Kirksey leaves Homestead with a legacy of superlative enlisted development; a legacy that continues to benefit Airmen aspiring to demonstrate the very best the Air Force has to offer in the enlisted ranks.
"Chief Kirksey leaves Homestead as a true partner and friend," said Lindberg. "His dedication and loyalty is uncommon. When Airmen were in need, he was there, ensuring the full force of Air Force support was energized. He will be sorely missed, but leaves us all better than when he arrived on station in the summer of 2011."
Kirksey said he's excited about the future of Homestead and has full confidence the wing will continue to develop its vital role in AFRC.
"Homestead is not your typical Air Force Reserve base," he said. "With the mixture of servicemembers we have, the multiple tenant units, the influx of active duty counterparts, the importance of our mission, Homestead finds itself in a unique situation that requires a lot from its Airmen. With all the new facilities and construction at Homestead, with its growing population of servicemembers, the future of Homestead is very bright."
A native of Silas, Ala., Kirksey enlisted in the Air Force Reserve in March 1988 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ga. He's spent the last four years as a command chief at Maxwell AFB and Homestead ARB.
According to Kirksey, camaraderie and unity are key aspects to mission success as well as his own success.
"Camaraderie is one of the best parts about being in the military and I dare say it's right up there with core value number one: integrity," he said. "If you don't have camaraderie, if your fellow Airmen feel you don't have their back, then you're part of the wrong organization.
"We're all a part of a unit," he added. "Individually, we know how good we are. But in order for the team to succeed, individuals must work together. The best leaders foster unity and, personally, I plan to do the same. Homestead is a place that continues to foster a great deal of unity and camaraderie and I cherish my time there."