By Senior Airman C. Todd Lopez
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (Dec. 07, 2001) -- Taking over the senior enlisted advisor position for nearly 1,500 people is a lot of responsibility, but nothing nearly 30 years of Air Force experience can't handle.
Chief Master Sgt. Wayne Galloway, 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, recently took over the position of senior enlisted advisor for Operation Northern Watch. During his 90-day rotation at ONW, he will serve as the Combined Task Force first sergeant, an advisor to many acting first sergeants assigned here and the enlisted advisor to the U.S. ONW co-commander.
At non-contingency operations, such a position is held by a command chief master sergeant. Though Galloway is not technically a command chief, like a command chief, while deployed here his job is to advise those new to the first sergeant position.
"A lot of the first sergeants here at ONW are not diamond wearing first sergeants. They are doing this as an additional duty while deployed," said Galloway. "I think that is why they bring us in here, to be the advisor to those folks who haven't served as a first sergeant before."
Like the work in his own position, Galloway said he understands during an operation such as ONW, Air Force members are called upon to go beyond what they normally do.
Galloway has served in the U.S. Air Force for some 27 years. He has served at Allied Force and Operation Southern Watch among other temporary duty assignments and has also served twice in both Germany and Korea.
He joined the Air Force in 1974, as the conflict in Vietnam came to a close. He could have been drafted at 18, but missed being called up. That didn't prevent him from eventually donning the Air Force blues, though.
"It was right at the end of the draft when I signed up," said Galloway. "I was lucky enough to not get drafted, but I still wanted to be in the military. I wanted to serve, and the Air Force seemed like the service to join; it offered a lot of what I was looking for."
At school, Galloway had seen some of his buddies from high school taken away to fight, never to return. Perhaps the loss ignited a fire in the then 22-year-old Tennessee native.
"I saw a lot of friends go off to Vietnam," said Galloway, "and I did lose a couple of friends that went. They were a few years older than me and I think that increased the patriotism in me... so patriotism was calling me."
As a new airman, Galloway started his active-duty career not far from where all airmen make the change from rainbow colored civilian to camouflaged airmen; he was assigned to medical administration at Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
He served the medical corps for some 16 years before taking on the role of a first sergeant. He finds the role challenging.
"It is not an easy job. It is a challenging job being able to keep people on an even keel, trying to keep discipline forthright in everybody's mind and letting everybody know what the mission is," said Galloway. "Of course, different squadrons pose different challenges."
While Galloway said he expected to see little of the difficulty typically encountered by command chiefs while serving at ONW, he did offer advice for those newly under his watch.
"You have to be respectful of neighbors," said Galloway of Hodja Village tent dwellers. "You have to be respectful of their privacy and off time. It is very close quarters here and privacy is hard to come by in a tent. We want people to recognize that. Also we want people to keep the noise levels down. If I had to put it in a simple sentence I'd say respect your neighbors."
After 27 years in military service, Galloway says he has no immediate plans for after retirement, though he projects some sort of employment is in the future. "I'll work, I'm just not sure how hard," laughed Galloway. "I'll be looking for a no stress job."
"When I finish the assignment in Germany I will be close to the 30 year mark and I will finish my career there," said Galloway. "I am going to retire in Spokane, Washington. My wife and I bought a house there a few years ago and we both like the area."
While he does plan on retiring from the service, Galloway says recent events have done nothing but strengthen his purpose for being in the service in the first place. He was in Germany at the time the World Trade Centers were destroyed in New York.
"To watch something like that on TV, just moments after it happened, it sends some different thoughts through your mind," said Galloway. "To see America attacked like that gives you a purpose. It makes you proud to be in uniform when something like that happens."
He also says events may give reason to others to choose the military as he did.
"There are probably more reasons to be in the military now then there have been in a couple of years," said Galloway. "The military is highly respected now. I think the people of the United States are looking to us now to be their protectors. I think there are lots of reasons to join the service today, but patriotism still tops my list though."