Gainey Shares Leadership Insights With Senior NCOs
By Tech. Sgt. Sean P. Houlihan, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii, Dec. 17, 2005 Responsibility, authority, accountability and assistance are the four things all servicemembers are looking for in their leaders, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here Dec. 16.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey, senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, listens to sailors aboard the USS Honolulu, Dec. 16. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Sean P. Houlihan, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"Regardless of service, each one of us is looking for these four items out of our leaders," Army Command Sgt. Maj. William "Joe" Gainey told senior noncommissioned officers from across Headquarters Air Force Pacific Command.
"And as leaders you must ensure that that each of you does that," Gainey said. "You owe it to them."
Senior NCOs have a responsibility to coach and mentor junior servicemembers as they develop their own leadership skills, he said. "You will throw them a rope and assist them up the hill. They will fall, and when they do, you must tug on the rope to stand them back up," he said.
"Once they have arrived on the top of the hill, dust them off, shake their hand and, as a leader, you will head down the other side of the hill," Gainey continued. "Why? Because, as a leader, your work is done and the futures of our services are in capable hands."
The sergeant major explained how he works with senior enlisted advisors to the services and the combatant commands as the "eyes and ears" of Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, the top U.S. military officer.
While working to strengthen these NCO relationships, Gainey said he also focuses on improving the Joint Staff; Joint Enlisted Professional Military Education, safety throughout the force and quality of life for servicemembers and their families.
To help him accomplish these goals, Gainey travels to combatant commands to meet enlisted members and officers and learn firsthand about their priorities and concerns. To date, he has visited four combatant command headquarters.
"When I am out traveling, being an 'integrator,' seeing things that one service is doing that could be good for the others," he said. "I will bring that back to the five service senior enlisted advisors to see how we can incorporate it across the board."
Gainey told the group that he knows the importance of the military service family and has strong military ties throughout his family.
His son, Army 1st Lt. Ryan J. Gainey, is stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., and served in Iraq. His stepfather, who he said he considers his father, is a former Marine, and a nephew is an Air Force captain at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. In addition, a cousin who served in the Navy is a Medal of Honor recipient. Gainey jokingly vowed to have a niece or nephew join the Coast Guard before he leaves office.
During the Pacific visit, Gainey received mission briefings on Pacific Air Force and the George C. Kenney Warfighting Headquarters and met with airmen at the Pacific Air Operations Center Combat Operations Division.
Earlier in the day, Gainey spent time with sailors assigned to the Pacific Fleet. He toured USS Lake Erie and USS Honolulu and shared lunch with crewmembers of the Honolulu, a Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine.
Gainey was in Hawaii for the first U.S. Pacific Command Senior Enlisted Leader conference, Dec. 14 and 15, where he addressed the leaders. More than 100 senior NCOs filling enlisted leadership positions across the command attended.
(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean P. Houlihan is assigned to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Public Affairs Office.)