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Ready to lead: new command chief brings wealth of experience to position.

Chief Master Sgt. Dwight D. Badgett has held a variety of jobs on the way to becoming Air Force Reserve Command's new command chief master sergeant, including being a high school teacher.

Lt. Gen. Charles E. Stenner Jr., AFRC commander, selected Chief Badgett for the command's top enlisted post in May.

"Chief Badgett is exactly the type of person Air Force Reserve Command needs as our command chief," the general said. "He has a depth and breadth of experience that will allow him to relate to and understand the unique needs of our Reserve Airmen. I am confident he will help take us to the next level in caring for Reserve Airmen."

Chief Badgett is the sixth command chief since AFRC became a major command in 1997. His previous job was at AFRC headquarters where he was responsible for organizing, training and equipping more than 4,800 Reservists as the chief enlisted manager for civil engineers.

He views his duties as the command's senior enlisted leader as being pretty straightforward.

"I take the boss's (General Stenner) vision to people in the field, and I bring their concerns back to him," Chief Badgett said. "My concerns are supporting the Airmen, and, by that, I mean officers, enlisted and civilians. The other critical point is supporting the mission. If everything we do is geared toward those ends, then I'll have done my job."

Enlisted force development and grade structure at the unit level are two of the chief's priorities. He plans to examine these issues closely over the coming months to improve them and make them easier to achieve.

Chief Badgett enlisted in the regular Air Force after high school and started his military career as a traffic management specialist.

His first assignment was to Soesterberg Air Base in the Netherlands, and he and his wife "loved it."

"I think that assignment is one of the reasons why we're still married 27 years later," he said. "As a young married couple, we were all we had. We didn't have the option to run home to mom or dad if something wasn't quite right. We had to work it out ourselves. It formed us into a team that we've been ever since."


In 1986, the chief retrained into civil engineering and took an assignment to Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.

After six years, he realized he wouldn't be able to finish a bachelor's degree in business while on active duty, So he decided to separate with 10 1/2 years of service.

Separating in 1992 with so much time toward an active-duty retirement was not an easy decision, but it was the first in a long line of defining moments where he decided to operate outside of his comfort zone.

After completing his degree, Chief Badgett took jobs working in county government, as executive director of a chamber of commerce and as a project manager for a commercial construction contractor.

He describes his time in the civilian sector as challenging and professionally fulfilling but found the stress and pressure associated with concentrating solely on the bottom line as not truly rewarding.

"It was during this time that I realized something was missing. It took me a couple of years to figure out what I was missing, and that was the Air Force," Chief Badgett said.

The chief then learned about the individual mobilization augmentee program, where a Reservist augments a regular Air Force unit and fills a position if an active-duty Airman is mobilized.

"There was a transition period there of moving from the civilian mindset back to the military mindset, but I enjoyed the flexibility the IMA program gave me," the chief said. "It is probably one of the reasons I'm still serving in the Reserve today."

Chief Badgett's next assignments included senior manager positions within Air Combat Command and a deployment to Southwest Asia to assist U.S. Air Forces Central Command developing master plans and programs for facilities and infrastructure in support of war fighters.

During this period, Chief Badgett's ability to step out of his comfort zone and try something entirely new made itself known once again when he became a North Carolina high school teacher. The decision resulted in almost a 50 percent pay cut but provided him the satisfaction that was missing in his professional life.

The Air Force called him back, and he served as the chief of the Geospatial Information Branch, managing the largest major command GeoBase program in the Air Force before being selected as the IMA to the manager of the Air Combat Command Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers program in 2004.

Chief Badgett transferred to the full-time active Guard and Reserve program in July 2008 as the Air Force Reserve's Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force and RED HORSE manager and chief enlisted manager for AFRC civil engineers.

The command chief position opened up when Chief Master Sgt. Troy McIntosh took a position with the Office of Secretary of Defense's Wounded Warrior program to represent reserve interests in assisting Citizen Airmen returning home from the battlefield.

By Tech. Sgt. Drew Nystrom

(Sergeant Nystrom is assigned to the HQ AFRC public affairs office at Robins AFB, Ga.)
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Author:Nystrom, Drew
Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Aug 1, 2009
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