By Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever, 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 08, 2019
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Carey, a 31st Force Support Squadron ALS Instructor, poses for a photo, Sept. 25, 2019, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The 31st FSS includes several distinct mission support functions that include Military Personnel, Civilian Personnel, Manpower and Organization, Airmen & Family Readiness, Education Services, Airman Leadership School and the First Term Airman Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever).
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Carey, a 31st Force Support Squadron ALS Instructor from Aviano Air Base, Italy, poses for a photo. (Courtesy Photo)
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Christopher Carey, a 31st Force Support Squadron ALS Instructor from Aviano Air Base, Italy, poses for a photo with his wife. (Courtesy Photo)
The U.S Air Force is constantly evolving in order to win today’s fight and prepare to win tomorrow’s fight. Therefore leadership in the Air Force must be willing to understand what changes are needed to achieve success.
“Leadership is an always evolving ability to understand people, how they operate, and how they are motivated to accomplish a goal,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Carey, 31st Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School Instructor.
With some motivation and convincing, Carey took the leap to join the world’s greatest Air Force.
“I was a trout fishing and basketball playing bum in Casper, Wyoming when my best friend Derek convinced me to join,” said Carey. “We joined a few months apart and both came in within Civil Engineer career fields.”
Just like most people, Carey has had rewarding days and some challenging days. However, he always managed to keep one thing in mind: helping others.
“I’ve had my ups and downs, good days and bad, but I love my job and helping people,” said Carey. “That’s what motivates me.”
Carey really enjoys teaching ALS students. Not only does he teach them, but he also learns from them.
“The part I absolutely love is that I get the opportunity to learn and develop with 48 students per class, 336 per year, and 1,008 over my three years,” said Carey. “What we hear from them in relation to what we teach becomes engrained in us as instructors, NCOs, and human beings. Without a doubt, no matter how hard I tried, I always learned more from my students than they probably learned from me.”
As Carey teaches so many students, he makes it a key factor to connect with them.
“I try and give the students what I wish I would have known as a new supervisor and combining that with what I know I will do when I return to lead in the same position they will be in,” said Carey. “I don’t believe in teaching anything that I will not be going back and doing myself when I leave ALS.”
Understanding that Airmen today are different than Airmen from then and Airmen in the future will be even more different is often crucial in making the Air Force better.
“The biggest challenge leaders face today is understanding and embracing generational gaps,” said Carey.
Carey takes this challenge head-on by supporting the mission.
“I know I support the AF mission because I share what I’ve learned during my career, whether it was what I did well or from mistakes I’ve made,” said Carey. “Next, I make people in our new generation know their “why” in their lives, personally and professionally. Lastly, I am a resource for every Airman that has come through this school. Just being a person to listen and be an outlet supports everything we do.”
Lastly, Carey leaves future leaders with a few words of wisdom:
“There are two pieces of advice that I would highlight for those stepping into a leadership role. One is stolen from General Lasica and that is to live and lead without fear. Most of us, hopefully all, are driven by excellence and do not want to struggle or fail. Be decisive in what you do, take ownership, and if it doesn’t work out perfect, learn from what didn’t go the way you hoped. Second, just be yourself. If you let a rank or position define you, that is what people know you for.”