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Guiding the next generation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Spencer Tobler
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss.-- Mentoring the next generation of leaders in our Air Force holds huge responsibility. Lieutenants and NCOs are responsible for leading Airmen, but they look for guidance from their senior NCOs and company grade officers, those with experience, on how to lead the right way.

“At my level we’ve been through a lot,” said Senior Master Sgt. Travis Jordan, 81st Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes so I think it’s only right we guide and assist our up and coming leaders so they don’t make the same mistakes. This will help the Air Force find avenues to become more efficient and effective in the future.” 

Generations of mentors pass down advice and give inspiration to the Airmen under them, building new Airmen that are resilient and ready for obstacles on and off duty.

“In the Air Force Chief of Staff’s strategic approach his first priority is Airmen,” said Jordan. “Our leaders realize if you don’t take care of the Airmen then you’re going to have trouble completing the mission. We have to take care of the ground-level Airmen and our culture will evolve from there.”

Mentorship has always had a huge influence in Jordan’s life, even prior to him joining the military. Jordan recalls his step-dad, who was in the Air Force, playing a part in his decision to join the military.

“I knew I wanted to join the Air Force since middle school because of him,” said Jordan. “I traveled with him and he introduced me to the Air Force’s culture, his actions alone mentored me when I was young.

Jordan remembered a mentor he had while he was a new NCO looking for guidance.  

“I saw him as more of a friend back then,” said Jordan. “Now I can look back and call him a mentor because of everything he did for me. He was a section lead that introduced me to different opportunities within my career field. He was also a father that guided me through fatherhood as I had a newborn at the time.”

Now, Jordan tries to replicate that same impact his mentor had him while he was an NCO.

“The Airmen that I’m looking after now will be making all of the decisions one day,” said Jordan. “I enjoy mentoring people that are coming up in the ranks to eventually replace me.”

No reputable leaders has reached the top by themselves, it is always good to have someone to support and guide you on the path to success.

“If you try to take on everything that’s getting thrown your way by yourself you’re going to collapse,” said Jordan. “That mentor is there to assist you in your decision-making processes personally and professionally so you don’t get to the point of collapsing. They may have already been through these experiences and have insight on how to navigate through a problem.”