Voices of the VaANG: Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Amburn (Part 2/3)

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lucretia Cunningham
  • 192nd Wing

“When the boss and I would go speak at ALS (Airman Leadership School), FTAC (First Term Airmen Course), or one of these Newcomers’ Orientations, Col. Piper got to where he would say ‘Alright, I’ve said my words; I want to leave the rest of the time for Chief Church.’

It really started because I always get asked questions like, ‘What does it take to be successful?’ ‘What does it take to become a command chief?’ ‘What does it take to reach the pinnacle of the enlisted career?’ I just started jotting down these nuggets. Some of them are mine, some of them are not— they’re borrowed from other mentors but are the ones that resonate with me and I try to share those.

The first one is ‘be a good human.’ It ties right into the second one which is ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ What that means is, talk to people how you want to be talked to, treat people the way you want to be treated, and help people how you want to be helped. I truly believe if we would get the first two right, not only would it fix a lot of the unrest we have in our nation right now, but it’d make the world (including our wing) a better place.

I joined back in 1992 as active duty. Once I got in (after I just about didn’t get in), and after growing up in North Carolina, I wanted to travel the world. I wanted to see places, I wanted to get away from my mom and dad, I wanted to become my own man—and, listen to this—my first duty station: Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina! Two hours and fifty minutes from home! [If I could go back and give myself advice], it would be those 10 nuggets:

1. Be a good human.
2. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
3. If you make a promise, keep a promise — a promise made is a promise kept.
4. Handle your business. There are some things the military can do for you, but there are some things you have to do for yourself. Those include things like PME (professional military education), your fitness, and keeping your records up to date.
5. Be where you’re supposed to be, and be on time. If you’re not five minutes early, that means you’re five minutes late.
6. The best way to stay in shape is not to get out of shape.
7. Not everything needs to go on social media. We are always an Airman regardless of our status, and we need to remember those things we put on social media can be harmful not only to our teammates, but to our wing as well.
8. Bad habits are like a comfortable bed. They’re easy to get into but hard to get out of so don’t ever start them. Little things like 5 o’clock in the afternoon when they’re playing the National Anthem over the loudspeaker and you see people stacking up at the door because they don't want to go outside and render customs and courtesies...those are bad habits!
9. A life without humor is like a book without words. You have to have fun doing what you do. If you’re not having fun, start having fun! Smiling and having a good time while doing what we do is very important.

The last one sums it all up.

10. Live your ‘dash.’ We all have a born-on date, we all have an expiration date, and we don’t really have control of either. What we do control is that dash in the middle — that dash is your dash. Every single second of every single day that passes is another second from your dash that is now gone. Live your dash to the fullest, that is the part you control...”
— Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Amburn, 192nd Wing command chief