NCO paralegal leads with skill
By Heidi Hunt, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 21, 2013
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
Surrounded by perfectly aligned decorations and degrees he has earned throughout his military career, he arranges a stack of seamlessly prepared legal folders on his desk.
While reviewing the work that lies ready, an open grin gradually appears across his face. His polished appearance and demand for excellence are a daily priority.
Like many Airmen, Tech. Sgt. Matthew Shively, 509th Bomb Wing NCOIC of paralegal, believes in finding a balance for the job that he loves.
Knowing that he has made a difference in people's lives, getting the bad guys off the streets and keeping the community safe is this goal-driven supervisor's idea motivation for working hard during duty hours.
Shively is a laid-back supervisor, and even on a bad day, he maintains a sense of optimism and a smile.
"The hectic lifestyle of being a paralegal is what motivates me most," he says.
As the NCOIC, Shively is in charge of three paralegals and manages all courts-martial, Article 15 actions and discharges, while ensuring all cases are within the proper timeframes for trial and completion of Article 15 actions.
Shively also assists commanders and first sergeants, while maintaining good order and discipline within the units here.
At the end of the day, when goals have been met, he is happy and knows that everything he does benefits the command, units and personnel here and in the Air Force.
Shively finds that one aspect of his job that drives him is the need to accomplish the mission.
"Working hard is a must, and giving it everything you have but at the same time having fun... committing to hard work, sharing laughs and a few clean jokes keeps motivation high," he says.
Master Sgt. Mary Madison said you can expect great results when Shively is in charge.
"He helps ensure mission requirements and the needs of Airmen are balanced and are met," said Madison.
After more than 13 years, and an impressive list of training and deployments, he will tell you that if everyone is happy, the job gets done faster and more satisfactorily.
"That's what matters to me - speed and accuracy," says Shively.
Shively enlisted in 1999 and originally wanted to be a paralegal, but at the time, the military did not accept non-prior Service members from basic training for that career field, so he opted for Security Forces.
"I served in Security Forces as a law enforcement officer for three years, and then cross-trained into paralegal to fulfill my goals," he says. "I went through a six-week paralegal apprentice course to learn the basics of being a paralegal."
Whether it is his experience in law or law enforcement, 'excellence in all we do' is more than just a military phrase to Shively.
He was also an instructor for four years at the Judge Advocate General's School, from 2006-2010, teaching a variety of courses to JAGs, paralegals and civilian legal personnel within the JAG corps.
The father of four daughters, and husband to Staff Sgt. Danielle Shively, 509th Force Support Squadron, he is a family man and loves spending as much time as he can with them when not working.
A unique way he unwinds is by making writing pens, using a lathe to shape and fashion exotic timbers and acrylics. He sometimes gives them as gifts - to a deserving few.
The time the Kansas native spends with his family and hobbies is invaluable, and he enjoys the leisure that comes along with it.
Shively has a long bloodline of military service, as both of his grandfathers, mentors in his life, served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. His younger brother, an Air Force 2nd Lieutenant, is currently in navigator school in Pensacola, Fla.
Shively's future education goals include a master's level certification in human resource management, as well as completing law school upon retirement from the Air Force.
He has completed his Masters of Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts and three associates degrees from the Community College of the Air Force, and after retirement he desires to manage a large corporate organization and enjoy lots of vacations with his family.
Shively is yet another example of the well-rounded Airman, an example for others to follow.