Career Focus: Faces change, missions stay the same

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Joseph Mulcahy
  • Career Assistance Advisor
Last Friday, members of the 377th Mission Support Squadron bid their commander, Maj. Emi Johnson, farewell and welcomed their new commander, Maj. Darwina Bugarin, to the squadron. This event occurred during a formal change of command ceremony at the Mountain View Club. The ceremony gave each of us the opportunity to witness a time-honored military tradition. It also allowed us to reflect on the change with mixed emotions.

We were disappointed to see Major Johnson depart. Her energy, leadership and professionalism fueled many of our personal and squadron successes. She epitomized leadership by walking around to see the Airmen. Her concern for people or her "peeps" was visible to all. We were fortunate to have this dynamic leader. Major Johnson will be greatly missed. However, our squadron and Kirtland can look forward to the new ideas, life and energy that Major Bugarin brings to the unit.

Periodic changes in leadership tend to make organizations better because each leader brings new ideas, visions and goals to challenge and motivate us toward greater heights. This holds true for squadrons and the Air Force as a whole.

The Air Force has gone through some major changes. We are smaller, yet our presence is felt in more places. We continue to increase our dominance in air, space and ground operations. Likewise, we have transformed our internal processes realizing that no area is exempt from improvement.

Our use of technology has increased and personnel programs have kept pace. Today, we can go on the Internet and request retraining, apply for retirement, update our records and conduct pay transactions. We can also contact customer service representatives at the Air Force Personnel Center by telephone 24/7. it's amazing to consider that what used to take hours or days can now be accomplished in minutes.

Force shaping is also occurring and it's aimed at reducing our operating expenses and preparing us for future challenges. More than ever, it has become critical for every Airman to keep abreast of changing policies and programs. If you have not done so, I would highly recommend visiting and checking out the latest news - especially force shaping news.

Air Force leadership recently announced that projected personnel reduction goals had not been met. Therefore, force shaping initiatives such as waiving active-duty service commitments and date of separation rollbacks have been extended. Additionally, Airmen may be able to take advantage of programs like Blue to Green. This program offers Airmen the opportunity to step out of the blue and use their knowledge and skills in the Army.

Early release programs like Palace Chase are alive and well too. This program allows Airmen to separate from active duty and use their skills in the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve. With so many programs and changes it behooves each of us to stay on top of career information and news.

Although our Air Force is changing, we can still enjoy the many things that remain constant such as our proud history, customs, traditions and commitment to preserving our nation's peace and security. Amid all the changes, remember that your unwavering commitment to this nation's freedom is critical.

If you would like information regarding Air Force programs, force shaping, benefits and entitlements or other career opportunities give me a ring at 846-6636 or e-mail me at

See you in the wings!