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AFRC's new command chief discusses philosophies, time at Homestead ARB

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron B. Kirksey (pictured), previously the command chief for the 482nd Fighter Wing, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., replaces Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen Buckner as the next AFRC command chief. Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, chief of Air Force Reserve and AFRC commander, selected Kirksey for the top enlisted spot in the command. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron B. Kirksey (pictured), previously the command chief for the 482nd Fighter Wing, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., replaces Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen Buckner as the next AFRC command chief. Lt. Gen. James F. Jackson, chief of Air Force Reserve and AFRC commander, selected Kirksey for the top enlisted spot in the command. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Col. Donald R. Lindberg, 482nd Fighter Wing commander (right), and Chief Master Sgt. Cameron Kirksey, 482nd FW command chief master sergeant, salute the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as they depart Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., after the Wings Over Homestead air show, Nov. 5. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez)

Col. Donald R. Lindberg, 482nd Fighter Wing commander (right), and Chief Master Sgt. Cameron Kirksey, 482nd FW command chief master sergeant, salute the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as they depart Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., after the Wings Over Homestead air show, Nov. 5. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez)

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron Kirksey, Command Chief for the 482nd Fighter Wing, addresses the Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Development Course at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Jan. 5. The objective of the course is to heighten the students' awareness of the dybnamics of supervision and leadership in the workplace. (US Air Force Photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ian Carrier)

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron Kirksey, Command Chief for the 482nd Fighter Wing, addresses the Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Development Course at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Jan. 5. The objective of the course is to heighten the students' awareness of the dybnamics of supervision and leadership in the workplace. (US Air Force Photo/ Tech. Sgt. Ian Carrier)

Airmen and servicemembers from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., along with students of Homestead Job Corps, cleaned up roadside trash along 10 blocks of South West 288th St. in support of Adopt-A-Highway in Homestead, Fla., recently. The base has partnered with Job Corps on multiple occasions to provide outreach to the area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez)

Airmen and servicemembers from Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., along with students of Homestead Job Corps, cleaned up roadside trash along 10 blocks of South West 288th St. in support of Adopt-A-Highway in Homestead, Fla., recently. The base has partnered with Job Corps on multiple occasions to provide outreach to the area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez)

Santa Claus taxis down the flightline in an F-16 to greet children involved with Chapman Partnership at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Dec. 19. Chapman Partnership, a local organization helping to combat homelessness, provides comprehensive services to empower homeless residents to become self-sufficient. Homestead ARB has also participated with Chapman Partnership on other events such as food drives. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez)

Santa Claus taxis down the flightline in an F-16 to greet children involved with Chapman Partnership at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Dec. 19. Chapman Partnership, a local organization helping to combat homelessness, provides comprehensive services to empower homeless residents to become self-sufficient. Homestead ARB has also participated with Chapman Partnership on other events such as food drives. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez)

Previous 482nd Fighter Wing command chief, Cameron Kirksey, rallies Airmen during a commander's call at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Jan. 30, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Previous 482nd Fighter Wing command chief, Cameron Kirksey, rallies Airmen during a commander's call at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Jan. 30, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron Kirksey, 482nd Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant, addresses the trainees of the Development and Training Flight on the Air Force’s core values and the wingman concept at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Aug. 12. The Development and Training Flight is a group of trainees who wish to prepare themselves before making their way to basic military training and technical school. The goal of the development and training flight is to reduce the number of seats lost in basic military training and technical school by ensuring all trainees are better prepared for the Air Education and Training Command environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jaimi Upthegrove)

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron Kirksey, 482nd Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sergeant, addresses the trainees of the Development and Training Flight on the Air Force’s core values and the wingman concept at Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., Aug. 12. The Development and Training Flight is a group of trainees who wish to prepare themselves before making their way to basic military training and technical school. The goal of the development and training flight is to reduce the number of seats lost in basic military training and technical school by ensuring all trainees are better prepared for the Air Education and Training Command environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jaimi Upthegrove)

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."