U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Steve Cenov, 8th Fighter Wing Command chief, stands guard at an installation entry control point at Eielson Air Force Base in June 2000. (Courtesy photo)
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Steve Cenov, 8th Fighter Wing Command chief, stands guard at an installation entry control point at Eielson Air Force Base in June 2000. (Courtesy photo)

Walking the road of sacrifice to success with Wolf Chief

by Master Sgt. Schelli Jones
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- In his debut role as a wing command chief for the 8th Fighter Wing, better known as the Wolf Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Steve Cenov has already hit the ground running.

“I’m too excited about being a member of the Wolf Pack team to be nervous,” said Cenov. “I look forward working shoulder to shoulder with the Airmen, the Republic of Korea Air Force servicemen and women, mission partners and civilians that make this wing great.”

He was notified in December 2018 by Col. Tadd Clark, 8th Fighter Wing commander, that he was selected to be command chief at the Wolf Pack.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” recalls Cenov. “I received countless phone calls and emails from active and retired Chiefs alike. Some who previously served in this position and others that never got the opportunity, but dreamed of the job. They all called to relay the honor and privilege of becoming Wolf Chief.”

As a first-generation American, he joined the Air Force for reasons similar to most Airmen, which was to live a positive life, travel and get an education.

“When I was younger, my goal was to be a police officer with the [New York Police Department],” said Cenov. “It ultimately drove me to enlist in security forces.”

He entered the Air Force approximately 20 years ago as a defender and upon the completion of this assignment, he will have spent eight years separated from his family.

“It’s a struggle and I miss my family all the time,” said Cenov. “I’m very lucky because they have always been extremely supportive but, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve sacrificed my family more than I should have. I owe my successful career to them.”

Cenov met his wife, Senior Master Sgt. Renee Cenov, during technical training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio. They have been married for 17 years and have two children.

As a dual military couple, he identifies with Airmen from the 8th Fighter Wing and understands what it is like to be away from loved ones.
“I know how hard it is and I sympathize with our teammates who are going through that struggle,” said Cenov. “Our families sacrifice a lot too, it’s not just the military member.”

His experiences have broadened his perspective and ability to put himself in his Airmen’s shoes.

“There will be times when your motivation is low, your commitment, determination and passion is tested,” said Cenov. “I want our teammates to seize the day and make their days count while stationed here at Kunsan Air Base.”

Cenov wants 8th Fighter Wing Airmen to focus on goal accomplishment during their tour. He has set also set high expectations for all senior noncommissioned officers here.

“While it’s easy to embark on the pursuit of a worthwhile goal, the ability to maintain the momentum to ensure its accomplishment is another issue altogether,” said Cenov. “Unless we stay motivated to maintain the momentum towards our worthwhile goal, it will just remain just another unaccomplished pursuit.”

Setting and accomplishing goals is very important to Cenov. He wants Airmen to know that he cares about their goals and is willing to help them cross the bridge to success. This motivates Cenov to meet with each senior noncommissioned officer here to personally communicate his expectations.

“I am personally meeting with more than 200 SNCOs because the development of our enlisted force is a primary concern of mine,” said Cenov. “My expectation is for them to then sit down with all their NCOs and civilians they supervise to further strengthen their own relationships.”

Part of Cenov’s goals include creating an environment that enables supervisors to engage with their subordinates outside of scheduled, mandatory feedbacks.

“I’m talking about really getting to know our team on a personal and professional level so we all can grow stronger together,” said Cenov.

From the Cenov’s perspective, the smallest changes can have largest impacts. His intent is to strengthen the Wolf Pack by enabling a stable, goal-achieving team.

For the Wolf Chief, his follow-on is not a concern right now. He is focused on his responsibility to lead and ensure he and all Airman here use every day of their tour to accomplish the Wolf Pack’s goals.

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