51FW command chief bids farewell with Q&A
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Chief Master Sgt. Terrence Greene, 51st Fighter Wing command chief, bids farewell to Team Osan with a final question and answer session.
Greene took over as command chief here January 2014. Osan was his 12th assignment after serving as command chief of the 451st Expeditionary Operations Group, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
While here, Greene was entrusted with the operational readiness, training, morale and welfare, installation support, and quality of life of more than 5,500 personnel assigned to the 51st FW, Headquarters 7th Air Force, and other Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps units.
He sat down recently to share some of his final thoughts about the base and the Airmen who keep it running.
What were your goals when you first took the command chief role here?
As command chief I relay the goals of the commander. At the time I arrived here, [Col. Brook Leonard, previous 51st FW commander], had the goals of team-building, readiness and discipline throughout the base.
At one point, Osan wasn’t connected. We wanted to connect the base and build the Team Osan concept. I feel like we did some pretty amazing things that were quite effective. We initiated an update brief, to allow our mission partners to come in and have a voice. We stood up the Team Osan Awards and the Osan Cup, a capstone piece for team building and comradery, which we have hosted twice already and will continue in the years to come.
Readiness was another thing we’ve worked to improve. We began inspecting what was needed to ensure we win the fight. We stopped painting the grass green and began to be honest with ourselves where we were failing. Over the past year, [Col. Andrew Hansen, current 51st FW commander], has had an incredible drive to robust and realistic readiness. We are confident in our readiness and we test these capabilities every quarter to ensure we are truly ready to “Fight Tonight”.
The last goal was discipline. Usually before you deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, you get weeks or months of training with your gear. Previously, you would get your shots and a little online training and that was it. We initiated the Korean Readiness Orientation to get people focused on the mission prior to and immediately upon arrival to the peninsula. A trained Airman equals a ready Airman and a valuable Airman.
How has Osan changed in the past two years here?
We’re more of a team now than ever before and there’s more lateral communication between the wing and our mission partners.
We’re slowly changing the perception of an assignment at Osan, getting away from the frat house mentality and now pressing harder on the readiness inspections.
Osan is a place for great opportunities and to experience culture. We are truly changing the culture of acceptable behavior in the local area and the rest of the peninsula.
What will you remember most about Osan and the Airmen here?
I’m going to remember how incredibly talented our Airmen can be with the right environment and leadership. Osan is a leadership lab. We sometimes make mistakes but these committed Airmen and Soldiers help each other grow in ways not possible anywhere else.
I’ll also remember how we’ve come together to face challenges. We’ve responded to North Korean aggressive actions, fixed the runway and even worked through many political issues with Anthrax and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. We still saw everyone come together all over the peninsula to make the mission happen.
I’ve never been to another base where there was such a strong sense of comradery and energy available, the environment here is just so incredible.
Where was your favorite place to travel in the ROK?
My wife, Debbie, and I love driving to the countryside. We would get in the car and drive for hours until you find some of the fishing villages or we would go biking along the rivers. We would visit the Seoul area, but the countryside and the Korean culture is absolutely beautiful.
Do you have any recommendations for Airman morale and activities off base?
Get out beyond the Songtan Entertainment District. Explore Korea, use Information, Tickets and Travel or even better, learn to use the robust subway, train and bus systems. There are so many opportunities available in this country to enjoy; take advantage of it!
What are your hopes for the future of Team Osan?
I would love for Osan to expand command sponsorship billets for more families to be here. Being away from your family can lead to many challenges and poor choices, whether it be from loneliness, financial issues or whatever may come.
I want Osan to have a similar perception as to [Yokota Air Base, Japan] where there’s a wonderful culture, great things to do and the opportunity to become a better version of you. We’ve made great strides in that direction, but we’re not quite there yet. It takes Airmen helping Airmen and stepping up to do what’s right in every situation.
Do you have any final words of advice for the Airmen here?
Osan is a great assignment where you can grow and accelerate your career. You have to make good choices for this to be true and treat yourself with dignity and respect. Every service member should be able to depart Osan with their head held high and reflect on their accomplishments. Knowing their reputation and standards were not lowered nor tarnished by poor choices and knowing they invested their precious time for personal and professional growth. Leaders must also work to put things in place that would help our service members make good choices. We owe it to them and their families.
Throughout his career, Greene won the John L. Levitow award in Airman Leadership school, distinguished graduate in NCO and Senior NCO academies and Joint Military Attaché School.
Greene will relinquish his position to Chief Master Sgt. Alexander Del Valle, currently stationed at 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, Forward Operating Base Oqab, Kabul, Afghanistan, in February.
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