BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
In January 2021, two Airmen from the 307th Mission Support Group introduced a new program to help Airmen reach their full potential, both in and outside of the Air Force.
Chief Master Sgt. Frank Kuba, 307th MSG superintendent, along with Col. Barry Crane, 307th MSG commander, started planting these seeds in August of 2020, when they first presented the idea. They were finally ready to watch it bloom and let 307th MSG Airmen reap the harvest.
The mentorship program has been in place for nearly a year.
“We’ve laid a solid foundation,” said Kuba. “We’ve put a lot of great things into place and are ready to move forward.”
Kuba was a first sergeant for eight years before his current position. He has a passion for helping people and said his goal is to simply help Airmen be better than they were yesterday.
“Whatever we can give to Airmen and NCO’s to make the wing, even the Air Force Reserve, better, that’s what we and this program are here for,” said Kuba. “We’re here for you.”
Kuba’s program allows Airmen and noncommissioned officers to interact with and learn from those outside of their rank tier. During their 30-minute meetings, mentors review topics varying from health and fitness to writing enlisted performance reports. So far, they have covered subjects including, but not limited to, customs and courtesies, My Vector, and lodging.
“If someone comes through the door and says, ‘hey Chief, I don’t know anything about this,’ then I’ll do my best to educate myself or bring in an expert to go over that topic,” Kuba said.
Session subjects for higher rank tiers include discussions about challenges they’ve faced during their career, wing-specific presentations and advising sessions with unit leadership. In addition, the program enhances communication among the three tiers.
The program also features special guests. In June, after only six months of the mentorship program being in place, Robert Gaylor, fifth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, appeared as a guest speaker through a video conference.
Master Sgt. Yami O’Leary, flight chief of the 307th Military Personnel Flight, hosted this session and invited Gaylor to speak to the Airmen. She said that as personnelists, it’s sometimes difficult to remember your importance to the overall mission. However, when her Airmen attended that meeting, Gaylor’s words of encouragement reignited that motivation.
“A comment I got from my Airmen was that they felt motivated again,” said O’Leary. “Just to hear that we are important and should be proud of who we are and what we do was really inspiring to us all.”
Although the program has faced some challenges as it continues to mature, the feedback from Airmen has been positive. Many Airmen have volunteered to be a part of the program and host mentorship sessions themselves.
Kuba is also actively working to create a SharePoint that Airmen will have as a resource for what’s been covered, as well as where to find more information on those topics.
“Our program helps Airmen do their job more proficiently,” said Kuba. “In the end, we get a better Airman, a better Air Force and a better Air Force Reserve.”
Kuba affirmed that young Airmen, and the new generation in general, teach him something new every day.
“A lot of people say once you make chief you don’t learn anything,” said Kuba. “I feel like if you get that mindset, it’s time to go.”
Kuba said that three of these mentorship sessions will be held every quarter, one each for junior enlisted, noncommissioned officers and senior NCO’s.
Airmen interested in taking part in the program should contact their supervisor, first sergeant, or call Chief Master Sgt. Kuba at 318-331-3984.