Chief Burke: 'Focus on being the best you can be each day'

  • Published
  • By Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. Roger Burke
  • 193rd Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron

Q:  Could you describe your job at the 193rd Special Operations Wing?
A: I am the 193rd Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron Supply Superintendent.  We provide supplies and parts, from paper and personnel mobility gear to highly technical electronics for the Commando Solo mission. I always tell people, I have the best job in the Air Force.

Q: How has your promotion to chief added to your responsibilities?
A: My duties have not changed much since I arrived here on Feb. 3, 2013, from the 111th Fighter Wing, Willow Grove, Pa. I'm probably more visible on the base since being promoted, but as far as the day-to-day operations, there has not been much of a change.

Q: During your long career, you've sat under the leadership of many people. What piece(s) of advice have you received over the years that have made the greatest impact on you?
A: Throughout my 20 years in the United State Air Force, on active duty, as a traditional guardsman and as full-time support personnel with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, I've never had a bad boss.  Each of them has instilled at least one characteristic in me, which I still use today. 
There are two pieces of advice that have resonated with me over the years:
1) Manage tasks and lead people
2) Always provide people opportunity to excel, grow and learn

Q: What does attaining the rank of chief master sergeant mean to you personally?
A: When I learned I was being promoted, it was very humbling. Obviously, it was a major point in my career, but I still come to work each day with a plan of not only meeting the mission, but trying to get the best out of everyone in SOLRS.  Attaining the rank provides me opportunity to influence more people.

Q: What does it take to make it to the rank of chief master sergeant? What do you think has helped you become a chief?
A: I was lucky in the sense that my bosses and family provided me opportunity. My supervisors gave me projects to lead, exposed me to different parts of my career field and encouraged me to take calculated risks, broadening my experiences. My family provided me opportunity in the sense they never said no when I went to a conference, NCO Academy, when I volunteered to deploy, when I enrolled in my MBA program.  That support was a significant factor in me attaining the rank of chief.

Q: What are some personal and professional goals you'd still like to achieve?
A: Personal Goals: When I retire I would like to be a university level academic advisor/counselor.  I teach part-time at a university and I love the energy of young people.  As a guidance/academic advisor at a university, I would get to interact and encourage young students.
Professional Goals: Meet the mission and continue to invest into the Airmen who work for me.  As I've said before, I come in every day trying to get the best out of them, so they are confident in the jobs, but also in whom they are as Airmen.

Q: What words of wisdom would you offer Airmen and non-commissioned officers looking to advance their careers?
A: Focus on being the best you can be each day, both technically and as a co-worker.
Look or ask for opportunity to grow. Get yourself out of your "comfort zone;" the experience is priceless.
Complete your education. Having a bachelor's degree will provide more opportunity, maybe not immediately, but somewhere down the road it will.