148th Fighter Wing bids farewell to Command Chief Master Sgt. Layman
By Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington, 148th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 04, 2011
DULUTH, Minn. -- "It's been a pleasure to serve with the men and women of the 148th," said 148th Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael Layman.
Layman, a Bulldog since Oct. of 1986, spent his final day as the command chief of the 148th Fighter Wing Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011 after 22 months of service in that position--during which Layman gave Command Chief Master Sgt. Mark Rukavina the command chief title in a transfer of authority ceremony at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC) in Duluth, Minn.
"I tried to give the position its due," said Layman.
Being the command chief for the 148th Fighter Wing allowed Layman to serve as a liaison for all the enlisted members in his charge--a function he views as vital in the successful operations of the Wing.
"This position really is a vehicle or a conduit to be able to take concerns from the enlisted force and explain them or advocate for them to the commander, and then take the commander's vision and be able to present it to the enlisted corps. You can call it a go-between, but you're really a vehicle for the commander to get his thoughts out. He just can't come and sit and talk to everyone, and neither can I, but what I can do is talk to the chiefs, or talk to different groups at different times. There's a little difference in me discussing with a group to convey the commander's intent rather than the commander doing it; there's a different type of dialog that happens. The same is true for me to take those concerns from the enlisted force and go and talk to the commander because the dialog is different. Not that I'm not intimidated, but the relationship level is different."
"That ability to talk to him is the reason I wanted to be a command chief," said Layman.
According to Layman, the chance to become the command chief was the result of the correct circumstances and opportunities lining up.
"It was a culmination or zenith of being able to positively impact the unit; to be a representative of the enlisted corps, to the commander first and foremost, but to all the officers, all the group commanders, and commanders," said Layman.
Prior to being selected for command chief, Layman was the Quality Assurance Chief at the 148th.
"My role as a quality assurance superintendent or chief was to have oversight of the maintenance that's being done at the 148th Fighter Wing. Though I don't write all the policies or procedures, I had oversight over everything that was written. There are too many gray areas that have to be defined, and that's our job."
Layman describes the difficulty inherent in the struggle to both accomplish the mission and yet follow the letter of the many procedures.
"It's a blend; you have to meet the mission requirements and you have to get the job done, but you can't compromise any principle. So you have to be able to do both. You follow written guidance, but you still get the job done. It's certainly possible, but there are some that would say it's not," said Layman.
Layman recalls that negativity was the largest obstacle he faced in his 31 years of service.
"There are challenges that will come your way--no matter what position you're in--if you can just meet those challenges with a positive attitude, knowing that though it seems difficult in that time, over time, the way in which you handle yourself, or the attitude you have in any situation will have far greater, and far longer lasting consequences than the actual outcome of that situation," said Layman.