Air Force Reserve gets new command chief
Story at a Glance
Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner Jr. appointed Chief Master Sgt. Dwight Badgett to the command's top enlisted position in May.|
Chief Badgett is the sixth command chief since AFRC became a major command in 1997.
Chief Badgett has served on active duty, as an IMA, and in the Active Guard and Reserve program.
Chief Master Sgt. Dwight D. Badgett, command chief master sergeant for Air Force Reserve Command, speaks with Senior Master Sgt. Cathy Williams, special assistant to the command chief, about items of interest to Airmen at the command headquarters at Robins Air Force Base Ga. Chief Badgett advises the commander on all matters concerning the health, morale, welfare and effective utilization of enlisted Airmen at 66-plus locations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Celena Wilson)
Posted 6/12/2009 Updated 6/12/2009
by Tech. Sgt. Drew Nystrom
Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs
6/12/2009 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Chief Master Sgt. Dwight D. Badgett has held a variety of jobs on the way to becoming Air Force Reserve Command's new command chief master sergeant, including being a high school teacher.
Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., chief of Air Force Reserve and AFRC commander, selected Chief Badgett for the command's top enlisted post in May.
"Chief Badgett is exactly the type of person Air Force Reserve Command needs as our command chief," the general said. "He has a depth and breadth of experience that will allow him to relate to and understand the unique needs of our Reserve Airmen. I am confident he will help take us to the next level in caring for Reserve Airmen."
Chief Badgett is the sixth command chief since AFRC became a major command in 1997. His previous job was at the AFRC headquarters where he was responsible for organizing, training, and equipping more than 4,800 reservists as the chief enlisted manager for civil engineers.
He views his duties as the command's senior enlisted leader as pretty straightforward.
"I take the boss's [General Stenner] vision to the field, and I bring their concerns back to him," he said. "My concerns are supporting the Airmen, and, by that, I mean officers, enlisted and civilians. The other critical point is supporting the mission. If everything we do is geared toward those ends, then I'll have done my job.
"Every issue or question I come across, I keep that in the back of my mind," he said. "How will this affect our Airmen, and how does it affect our ability to accomplish the mission?"
Knowing someone cares is as important as pay and benefits, according to the chief.
"To know somebody cares about them means as much or more to our Airmen than pay or benefits," Chief Badgett said.
"I've lived what they're living, so I can empathize with them and understand what they're going through," he said. "I've lived that traditional reservist life, I've lived the life of an individual mobilization augmentee, and I've been on Active Guard and Reserve status. I've also worked a lot of air reserve technician issues."
Enlisted force development and grade structure at the unit level are two of the chief's priorities. He plans to examine these issues closely over the coming months to improve them and make them easier to achieve.
Chief Badgett enlisted in the Regular Air Force after high school and started his military career as a traffic management specialist.
"I wanted to go to college but didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life," he said. "My brother-in-law was a senior master sergeant on active duty, and we talked a lot about the benefits of an Air Force career."
After meeting with a local recruiter, he picked traffic management because it was a "stable job and would enable me to go to college at night," he said.
His first assignment was to Soesterberg Air Base in the Netherlands, and he and his wife "loved it."
"I think that assignment is one of the reasons why we're still married 27 years later," he said. "As a young married couple, we were all we had. We didn't have the option to run home to mom or dad if something wasn't quite right. We had to work it out ourselves. It formed us into a team that we've been ever since."
The chief said having the support of his family is just as important today as it was then.
"The Air Force is my passion, my life is my family," he said. "That's what I live for. I come to work every morning because I love the Air Force and what I do, but I get up every morning because of them."
In 1986, the chief retrained into civil engineering and took an assignment to Ellsworth AFB, S.D.
After six years, he realized he wouldn't be able to finish a bachelor's degree in business while on active duty, so he decided to separate with 10 ½ years of service.
Separating in 1992 with so much time toward an active-duty retirement was not an easy decision, but it was the first in a long line of defining moments where he decided to operate outside of his comfort zone. He said it was one of the toughest decisions he's ever had to make.
After completing his degree, Chief Badgett took jobs working in county government, as executive director of a chamber of commerce and as a project manager for a commercial construction contractor.
He describes his time in the civilian sector as challenging and professionally fulfilling but found the stress and pressure associated with concentrating solely on the bottom line as not truly rewarding.
"It was during this time that I realized something was missing. It took me a couple of years to figure out what I was missing and that was the Air Force," Chief Badgett said.
Chief Badgett then learned about the individual mobilization augmentee program, where a reservist augments an active-duty unit and fills a position if an active-duty Airman is mobilized.
"There was a transition period there of moving from the civilian mindset back to the military mindset, but I enjoyed the flexibility the IMA program gave me," the chief said. "It is probably one of the reasons I'm still serving in the Reserve today."
The chief's next assignments included senior manager positions within Air Combat Command and a deployment to Southwest Asia to assist U.S. Air Forces Central developing master plans and programs for facilities and infrastructure in support of warfighters.
During this period, Chief Badgett's ability to step out of his comfort zone and try something entirely new made itself known once again.
"In my civilian life, I was making good money but in a very stressful job," he said. "There was something nagging at me. I just didn't feel like I was making a contribution to society like I felt I should."
That is when he became a North Carolina high school teacher, taking almost a 50 percent pay cut but finding the satisfaction missing in his professional life.
"When I took the teaching job, I took a huge pay cut. That hurt, and, to be honest, it scared me to death. But when I started there, I was probably the happiest I had been in a long time because I was helping people," the chief said.
The Air Force called him back, and he served as the chief of the Geospatial Information Branch, managing the largest major command GeoBase program in the Air Force before being selected as the IMA to the manager of the Air Combat Command Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers program in 2004.
Chief Badgett transferred to the full-time Active Guard and Reserve program in July 2008 as the Air Force Reserve's Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force and RED HORSE manager and chief enlisted manager for AFRC civil engineers.
The command chief position opened up when Chief Master Sgt. Troy McIntosh took a position with the Office of Secretary of Defense's Wounded Warrior program to represent reserve interests in assisting Citizen Airmen returning home from the battlefield.
"The Wounded Warrior program was created by OSD to take care of our wounded Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors that come back," said Chief Badgett. "We take care of their medical needs, but do we make sure their pay is right, that they have their family members there and all the things that need to happen to take care of their whole person? Chief McIntosh will help make the process better for our wounded heroes.
"The Air Force has taken care of me for 27 years," said Chief Badgett. "It's my job to give something back now." (Air Force Reserve Command News Service)