News Search

Former CMSAF meets Airmen, gives leadership tips

WHITEMAN AFB, MO -- Several Whiteman Airmen received a lesson in leadership and management last week from a man who spent the much of his Air Force career teaching the subjects. 

Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor spoke at the Chief recognition banquet March 9 on the techniques and importance of successful management and leadership. 

Five senior master sergeants from Whiteman were selected for promotion to chief. 

"That's my core of expertise," he said. "I am a student of leadership." 

"There are two questions I try to answer: 'what is it that great leaders do that makes them great?' and 'what is it that poor leaders do that makes them poor?'" Chief Gaylor said. 

Chief Gaylor, born in Bellevue, Iowa, enlisted in the Air Force in 1948. 

He served in the security police career field until 1957, when he became a military training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas until 1962. 

During his security police years, Chief Gaylor spent tours in Texas, Korea, Japan, Mississippi and Louisiana. 

An honor graduate of the 2nd Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Barksdale AFB, La, Chief Gaylor spent eight years of service studying and teaching management and leadership techniques to Airmen. 

Chief Gaylor became the fifth chief master sergeant of the Air Force in 1977 and held the top enlisted billet until his retirement in July 1979. 

Four days after his retirement, Chief Gaylor began working for USAA Federal Savings Bank in their insurance department. He retired in 1995. 

"Retirement to me is another stage of life," Chief Gaylor said. He added that, although he no longer puts in a 40-hour workweek at an office, he is still active in other things such as traveling and speaking to others about leadership and management. 

"It's my belief that if we can capture things that great leaders do and share that with others, we'll have more great leaders," Chief Gaylor said. 

Early in the Air Force, leadership was predominately authoritarian, "I'm the boss, you're the worker. I'll tell you what to do, you do it," the chief said. Today's Air Force shows that a leader can be dynamic and goal-oriented and still be open-minded to his subordinates, Chief Gaylor said. 

"I think your wing commander is a good example of that," he said. "He's a forceful leader. He's dedicated to his goals, but he's also a great person." 

The chief also noticed the many changes and advancements in Air Force security forces squadrons since his time as a security police member. 

"There is more pride, much better training and advanced equipment and weapons," he said. "(Security forces) are trained, equipped and motivated so much better." 

Although never stationed at Whiteman, Chief Gaylor has visited Whiteman more than 15 times since 1975. 

"There's no base like Whiteman," he said. "It's the only base with the B-2 and that has to be the most impressive and beautiful aircraft. So many of our bases have similar missions, but Whiteman is the only base with the B-2 and I think it is a very special mission with a very sophisticated weapons system." 

"And the people of Whiteman are dedicated to that mission and that is very impressive." 

"I came here Oct. 4, 2001, just a few days after 9/11," Chief Gaylor recalled. "I remember the pace, the excitement, and the spirit at Whiteman about flying the first missions and I got caught up in that. 

"These visits are my opportunity to thank the men and women of Whiteman for the great job they do."