An Airman's Experience as Command Chief for a Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keira Rossman
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

With great rank comes great responsibility! One Airman had the unique opportunity to experience this first-hand by serving as the command chief for a day at Laughlin Air Force Base! 

On Feb. 22, 2023, Airman 1st Class Natalie Bait, 47th Force Support Squadron career development technician, was given a chance to fill the boots of the Chief Master Sgt. David Snarr, 47th Flying Training Wing command chief, and gain insight into the decision-making process in the highest levels of leadership at Laughlin. 

In the Air Force, a command chief is the senior enlisted advisor to a commander and serves as the principal enlisted advisor to the commander for all enlisted matters. They are responsible for the morale, welfare, discipline, and professional development of enlisted personnel under their command. A command chief serves as the bridge between the enlisted force and the commander, providing advice and guidance on issues affecting enlisted personnel and addressing their concerns. As a critical leadership team member, a command chief plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy and effective command structure and promoting the success of the base mission. 

Bait began her morning as chief with meetings where she reviewed and discussed a report detailing Laughlin’s flight line and road conditions. She also attended a second brief where the most current news and updates were shared. Next, Bait accompanied Snarr, and Col. Kevin Davidson, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, in presenting XLer of the week to an outstanding performer and began a tour of various flights of the 47th Operations Group. This included the radar approach control tower and facilities as well as a taste of flying in a simulated T-6 Texan II flight. 

"When I was visiting the different squadrons around the base, I was able to see how valuable each job is," said Bait. "We all work together to support one another and accomplish our mission." 

Reflecting on her experience as command chief for a day, Bait emphasized the importance of planning and preparing ahead of time in the Air Force -- a valuable tool that she learned firsthand. 

"One of the biggest challenges I faced was when I was asked to make a speech as chief," said Bait. "I didn't realize how prepared you had to be for spontaneous speaking like that." 

Snarr spent the day alongside Bait, guiding and giving pointers while explaining the "how" and "why" of processes that wing-level decisions must go through. At the end of the experience, he expressed the importance of building the future generation of Airmen. 

"Allowing Airmen to step into leadership roles, even for a short time, not only gives them valuable experience but also helps us to cultivate the next generation of Air Force leaders," said Snarr. "It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to mentor and guide Airman Bait for the day, and we have no doubt that she will continue to make a positive impact here at Laughlin and in the Air Force community." 

Perhaps one day, after a few years and some stripes, Bait will have the chance to serve as a command chief again. While simultaneously continuing the tradition of shaping, guiding, and developing the future of the enlisted corps!