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Team building frames security forces sendoff of top enlisted leader

Security forces defenders from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, put together an array of teambuilding activities as a way to say farewell to Chief Master Sgt. Stacie Moore, 920th SFS enlisted manager, on his retirement October 13, 2018. Events included rucking, running and all-around physical fitness as a way to pay tribute to his leadership. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes

Defenders with the 920th Security Forces Squadron members ruck down Patrick Air Force Base’s iconic Rescue Road as part of a farewell exercise for their unit manager, Chief Stacie Moore, Oct. 13, 2018. Moore (holding the guidon) has been a security forces warrior with the squadron since the 920th Rescue Wing’s inception in the 90’s. He is closing the book on his extensive Air Force career with several physical training activities to mark his retirement during the October 2018 Unit Training Assembly. Patrick Air Force Base is located in Cocoa Beach, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

Security forces defenders from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, put together an array of teambuilding activities as a way to say farewell to Chief Master Sgt. Stacie Moore, 920th SFS enlisted manager, on his retirement October 13, 2018. Events included rucking, running and all-around physical fitness as a way to pay tribute to his leadership. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes

Staff Sgt. Curtis Neraasen, 920th Security Forces Airman, performs a high crawl during a unit physical training exercise Oct. 13, 2018. Neraasen and the 920th SFS participated in a rigorous obstacle course lead by their highest ranking noncommissioned officer during the October Unit Training Assembly. His unit is tasked with protecting the 920th Rescue Wing and its assets at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. According to Neraasen, high crawling can be an effective means of maneuvering while maintaining cover. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

Security forces defenders from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, put together an array of teambuilding activities as a way to say farewell to Chief Master Sgt. Stacie Moore, 920th SFS enlisted manager, on his retirement October 13, 2018. Events included rucking, running and all-around physical fitness as a way to pay tribute to his leadership. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes

(Left to right) Staff Sgt. Curtis Neraasen, Staff Sgt. Eric Rodriguez and Master Sgt. Ricardo De La Cruz, security forces Airmen assigned to the 920th Rescue Wing participate in a rigorous obstacle course at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 13, 2018. The team-building exercise included high crawls, flipping a commercial tire and a 5 kilometer ruck march. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

Security forces defenders from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, put together an array of teambuilding activities as a way to say farewell to Chief Master Sgt. Stacie Moore, 920th SFS enlisted manager, on his retirement October 13, 2018. Events included rucking, running and all-around physical fitness as a way to pay tribute to his leadership. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes

Chief Stacie Moore, security forces manager, leads Reserve Citizen Airmen as his unit marches through Patrick Air Force Base, Oct. 13, 2018. This physical training exercise will be his last with the 920th Security Forces Squadron before he retires from the Air Force Reserve. As the 920th SFS’s highest enlisted Airman, he is responsible for the wellbeing of security forces personnel known as Defenders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Florida -- From birth to death – we join together before starting new chapters.

Parents host baby showers, teachers hand out diplomas and communities erect memorials.

These celebrations and observances provide us with an essential sense of resolution, which allow groups to move forward.

However, some of our most honorable service members insist on discreetly gliding past career milestones like command changes, retirements and separations.

“I understand that some people want to slip out and I respect that,” said Master Sgt. Ricardo De La Cruz, 920th Security Forces Squadron action officer. “However, it’s beneficial for the troops to see their leadership move on; whether it’s a formal ceremony or informal, like a barbecue. It’s an opportunity to pay homage to the member, and it’s an Air Force tradition.”

De La Cruz, a Reserve Citizen Airman stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, attributes the desire to step aside unnoticed to modesty.

He shared his thoughts with me during Chief Stacie Moore’s farewell activities, which included a five kilometer ruck march and an obstacle course on Oct. 13. The now-retired chief was the 920th SFS manager. De La Cruz agreed it was important to share those final moments as a team considering Moore’s many contributions.

“He’ll drop anything to take a call from one of his Airmen,” said De La Cruz. “I didn’t think I would need a mentor at this point in my career, but he’s definitely filled those shoes by giving me advice about work and life in general.”

A change in leadership can be tough for those who might see you as a mentor. As a Reservist, I’ve witnessed the uncertainty employers leave behind with sudden, unannounced shifts in the private sector. That’s why it is important to give your team closure, ensuring smooth transitions in the workplace.

“These folks have always been family,” said Moore. “We’re going to take today to rally the troops with a team-building exercise. I want them to know that just because I’m leaving, doesn’t mean things are going to fall apart. There’s still a team. There’s still comradery. There’s still a bond.”

As you pursue new adventures, don’t leave those bonds up to assumption. Relationships are built with action and reinforced with words. As a lifelong member of the Air Force family, your contributions are appreciated and you will be missed. I encourage all of you to stay in contact with that family and to give your subordinates closure when it’s your time to pass the baton.

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