53d Wing looks "West" for new command chief

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Samuel King Jr.
  • 53d Wing Public Affairs

"Smile, be happy, and count your blessings, they'll always outnumber the challenges you face." 

That's the outlook on life of the 53d Wing's new command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Terry West. 

The chief left the 509th Mission Support Group at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to take the position of the wing's top enlisted and wasted no time in getting started. 

"It's very humbling to be named a command chief," said the 22-year veteran. "But I'm very excited to meet the challenges ahead and to help shape our future Air Force leaders." 

Air Force blue is more than just a career for the North Carolina native and his family - it is a way of life. The chief's spouse is an Airman Leadership School flight chief and two of his children are "stepping into the blue" as Air Force cadets at their respective colleges. 

From humble beginnings at the tobacco factory till now, the chief said he believes the reason he joined the Air Force still holds true for him today. 

"I wanted to belong to a well-known and respected organization and the Air Force was exactly that and it still is today," said the chief, a combat zone vet, deploying three times to six different countries. "Life in the military is different from any other profession. It requires an attitude of service, sacrifice and selflessness. Yet, there's no other profession that's more rewarding and fulfilling and I'm glad to be a part of it." 

The chief attributes his rise and success in the Air Force to being "blessed" and good supervision. 

"The way I count success is doing the best I can at whatever job I'm performing at the time," said Chief West, who completed his Masters Degree in Procurement and Acquisition in 2004. "From sweeping floors to mowing grass, each job I did my best and my supervision kept me moving in the right direction." 

Now at the top, the new command chief wants to ensure his focus is helping out those below. 

"My goals are to carry out the priorities of the 53d Wing commander and to try to realize the Air Force's top three priorities of winning the war of terror, taking care of Airman and their families, as well as rebuilding and recapitalization," said the chief. 

Although this is the chief's first command chief position, Col. Steve DePalmer, 53d Wing commander, feels Chief West brings the attitude and know-how to be a leader in the wing. 

"I chose Chief West because he brings leadership experience from the mission support world," said the colonel. "One of our biggest challenges in the 53d is nurturing and improving our tenant status, both here at Eglin and at 17 other locations in the CONUS. Our Wing depends on good relations and solid teamwork with host units--Chief West understands the challenges mission support organizations face in today's Air Force, and he'll help the 53d Wing and host units work together to ensure mission success."