Team Whiteman member has 2,000 children in the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hailey Farrell
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Donald “Mac” MacMillan, chief of plans and programming, 509th Security Forces Squadron, has 2,000 children across the U.S. Air Force.


Children like Senior Airman Alejandro Amaya and Tech. Sgt. Austin Snowden, both with the 509th SFS.


MacMillan retired from the Air Force as a Chief Master Sgt. and returned as a civilian employee to keep sharing his knowledge and experience with future generations of Airmen.


“Every time I have a question most people don’t know the answer for, I go to Mr. Mac and try to learn more from him,” said Amaya.


Before he was a part of the 509th Bomb Wing, MacMillan was a member of its predecessor, the 509th Bombardment Wing located at Pease AFB, New Hampshire.


“I joined in 1978, and I started out as an Airman Basic at Pease AFB,” said Mac. “I was there for seven years before I went to Guam for a few years, after Guam they sent me back to Pease AFB where I was for almost two more years until they closed and flew the flag here.”


MacMillan’s progression from the lowest to the highest enlisted rank was motivated by his desire to take care of Airmen and have a positive impact on them.


Every time you made a stripe, you got to make a bigger difference in more people’s lives, he said.


“He wants to know what you want to be called, what you go by or what your nickname is to build that rapport with you,” Snowden, noncommissioned officer in charge of weapons system security.


During the 47 years of MacMillan’s service in the Air Force he believed in caring about others and getting to know who they were beyond the uniform.


“He sits with you and talks about where you're from, why you wanted to join, and what your first name is,” Amaya said of the time he first sat down with MacMillan, as all new Airmen do. “But if you mess up, he’s not afraid to tell you.”


MacMillan learned the importance of this kind of personal touch from one of his mentors, Tech. Sgt. Lou Archibald.


“Lou was the guy to talk to about taking care of people,” said MacMillan. “He really set me on the right path.”


While some leaders at the time were saying you’ll do it because I told you so, Lou was different, said MacMillan. He took the time to explain the reason behind what he was telling you to do.


 “He painted the picture for how to take care of your Airmen the right way,” said MacMillan.


That’s why MacMillan says that he has 2,000 children across the Air Force, because he strives to connect with and understand his Airmen like they were family, a practice that sets the standard for the kind of impactful leadership he wants to pass on.