The 148th Fighter Wing's new command chief’s vision
By Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington, 148th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 05, 2012
Duluth, MINN. -- "It's a humbling experience and it's an honor to have the trust placed in me by Col. Stokes and the leadership team here at the wing to be the voice for the enlisted--to be that conduit between the enlisted force and the commander," said 148th Fighter Wing Command Chief Mark Rukavina.
The 148th Fighter Wing appointed Rukavina as the new command chief during the Transfer of Authority ceremony as part of the awards and retirement ceremony at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Dec. 3, 2011.
March 2012 will mark 32 years of service with the 148th Fighter Wing for Rukavina. A Duluth native, he spent his career in civil engineering prior to taking over as the current command chief master sergeant.
"As you go through your career, you set some goals, and it's all timing within your career. As you stay in a position for a certain period of time you get a little stagnant or a little too comfortable and complacent in some areas, so I think it's a good opportunity to move and change your career path a little bit and try to make a difference in another organization. We have to make ourselves uncomfortable once in a while to learn and gain some experience and knowledge and get involved in the wing level issues. It gives you a different perspective of the wing," said Rukavina.
Rukavina feels strongly about the Air Force core values, and ensuring Airmen coming back from technical school maintain these principles as Bulldogs.
According to Rukavina, core values a large part of the 148th Fighter Wing. Always doing the right thing, service before self--these are the behaviors and attitudes that we as Bulldogs carry. Excellence in striving for professional and personal development is very important to Rukavina.
In that same vein of guiding young Airmen, Rukavina also promotes the importance and benefits of both finding a mentor, and being there to provide guidance to others.
"Mentorship. I think it's important to have that mentorship through our peers and as supervisors to mentor and prepare those Airmen to take our spot one day. I've had some great mentors throughout my career and still have some members of the chiefs' council that I lean on and use as a sounding board to help me. We've all had supervisors along our career--some were good, some were bad--but we learned something from each of them. One day hopefully in my time I can mentor some of the chiefs' group or some of the seniors that are going to be coming up that want to be in this position and carry on the great things that the command chiefs have started and continue to do to support the Airmen," said Rukavina.
In the eyes of Rukavina, the future of the 148th is bright and full of positive opportunities.
"We're in a good position with new airplanes and the announcement that we're a step closer to the Active Associate--that still has some hurdles to go through--it's a step in the right direction. It's just another tool to help us cement our future--it's going to give us some challenges too. We're going to bring some active duty Airmen on and it gives us opportunities to mentor and instill the core values into these Airmen, because that's what they live and breathe. Give them the expertise and the knowledge that our people here have," said Rukavina.
"With the Active Associate, we have to be open and ready to accept that change. and realize that it's for the betterment of not only the unit here, but for the Air Force, as we help educate and train the young three- and five-levels that are going to come here to gain that experience, and to make the whole Air Force total force better," said Rukavina.