Behind the Rank: Command Chief Master Sergeant Robert Bedell
By Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 08, 2015
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
During a recent Minuteman III launch here, Chief Master Sgt. Robert Bedell, 30th Space Wing command chief, visited members of the 30th Security Forces Squadron to get an in-depth look at their diverse roles during launch operations. Bedell spoke with the Airmen about Vandenberg, their job responsibilities and their opinion on varying Air Force topics.
Bedell, despite a hectic schedule, makes time during launches to drop by other units and see first-hand what keeps the wheels spinning, and the rockets launching.
"I've seen a lot of launches, but this was my first as command chief," said Bedell. "I had the privilege of being able to visit our defenders to see what they do and how they ensure we have a flawless launch. I think it's amazing how every facet of the wing comes together to execute a launch. I plan to continue checking in on other units during future launches to witness how they make the mission happen."
The mission of the 30th SW is a former fascination turned reality for Bedell.
"I am a rocket geek, so even as a kid, I loved the space shuttle," said Bedell. "I had a huge mural on my wall, I followed all the launches and even played with the little Estes Rockets. So for me to be at one of the biggest launch sites and being Vandenberg's command chief is beyond any dream. What I love about Vandenberg is the unique mission set. It's great to hear the sound of freedom with planes flying at other bases. However, no matter what that aircraft sounds like, it will never compare to the sound of a rocket launch. The history we have here at Vandenberg as well as the mission of launching rockets, for me and the child inside me - it can't get any better."
Bedell explained some of the similarities and differences between his current position and his previous one as the 381st Training Group superintendent.
"I think the big thing comes down to one word - scope," said Bedell. "When you're at the group and you have those squadrons under you, you're focused mainly on the training mission. Coming up to the command chief position, that scope or that aperture, it opens up and now I have the privilege to assist our Airmen, to have a say in things or help them out and give them wing feedback on things that they're unsure of. I was able to do that at the 381st TRG and give them insight as I was getting it from Air Education and Training Command, but that voice was only going to the training group. Now, I get to speak to not only the training group, but to everybody. That scope or aperture has expanded, but my role in taking care of and serving the Airmen is still the same. It's just a much bigger privilege now."
Having a finger on the pulse of Airmen is a pivotal trait a command chief must possess, and Bedell's peers have witnessed this in action.
"The command chief is the voice of the Airmen," said Tech. Sgt. Casey Splitter, 30th SW command chief executive assistant. "They not only relay information from the top down in a manner in which the Airmen can understand and relate to, but they also have to know what is going on down in the trenches, where the rubber meets the road. Even simple things such as dining facility hours or after work activities can make a big difference in Airmen's lives. They have to care because they are the voice of the Airmen they serve. The less stress of the little things, the bigger impact those Airmen have on the big things."
The command chief provided sage words of advice for the "future" leaders of our Air Force.
"Set a positive example now and encourage your peers to climb to a higher standard," said Bedell. "I tell people not to think too far ahead, because if you think too far into the future, you lose sight of where your responsibility is in the here and now. Focus on the duty at hand, be an expert at it, influence the people around you and lead them. It doesn't matter how many stripes are on your sleeve, you are in a position of authority, just with a different scope and center of influence."