ROYAL AIR FORCE MILDENHALL, England --
United States Air Force chief master sergeants and chief selects from seven bases throughout the United Kingdom gather together for the Chief’s Summit at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, Jan. 18-20, 2023. The U.K. Chief’s Summit is a multi-day event focusing on building connections between the highest ranking personnel from U.S. Air Force bases across the U.K. by continuing to develop the highest level of enlisted leadership.
“It’s important for chiefs to continue refining each other; development and growth doesn’t stop when someone is promoted to Chief Master Sergeant,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Venning, 100th Air Refueling Wing command chief. “If we don’t deliberately talk through these issues, we can find ourselves not as ready to lead our formations or advise our commanders.”
The Chief’s Summit consists of briefings given by guest speakers on topics ranging from leadership standards and discipline, leadership and mentorship development, and wing mission briefs. This allows the chiefs to discuss how developing Air Force concepts are being implemented, and how they can grow in their leadership skills.
“The wings represented in this summit provide the foundation for the USAF to project multi-domain combat power anywhere in the European theater, yet we often work in functional isolation,” said Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Tidwell, 48th Fighter Wing command chief. “This summit helps synchronize the enlisted leaders and deepen the relationship across all the wings with the intent of focusing our efforts on developing our force towards common objectives.”
The briefings also include specific topics on special assignments, the command chief master sergeant hiring process, chief master sergeant selection board and how chiefs can use the Skill Bridge program.
“Though chiefs all wear the same rank, and we are united in our purpose, we have all developed along very different paths and can still see the world in very diverse ways,” said Tidwell. “It is important for us to take time to grow and develop.”
The summit gives the attendees a space and an opportunity to discuss, share experiences and ask questions on the topics of multi-capable Airmen and agile combat employment to develop the future of the Airmen under their leadership.
“Every chief in the room now values the other wings more and understands how our mutual missions fit together,” said Venning. “These chiefs now have connections and friendships that will last a lifetime. And I hope that our candid chats with senior level chiefs can have a real impact on the lives of all our Airmen and families.”
Events like the U.K. Chief’s Summit help strengthen the highest level of enlisted leadership by allowing them to share various perspectives and guiding them on how to develop their collective leadership. The U.K. Chief’s Summit is already planned to be hosted next year at Royal Air Force Lakenheath.