Chief's Corner: CMSgt Daniel Stellabotte

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  • By U.S. Air Force CMSgt Daniel Stellabotte

In my 26 years serving in the world’s greatest Air Force I have learned many valuable lessons and I would like to share some with you.

We often talk about what type of leader we aspire to be, but do we ever think about what type of leader we do not want to be?

Throughout our careers we go through challenging times: a tough experience with a supervisor, assignment or life in general. The challenge is to not dwell on the negative aspects of those experiences, but to turn them into a positive.

I take on the mindset when I am in a supervisory role or senior position, where I can affect Airmen or Guardians, that I am not going to lead with the same negative experiences I have encountered.

I want my Airmen and Guardians to have it better than I did. Each one of us is in control of that narrative, and I have carried that mindset with me since I was a junior Airman.

Here is another example of having the right mindset.

When I came into the military, education was the furthest thing from my mind. It wasn’t until my fifteenth year if service that I decided to finally finish my bachelor’s degree.

The challenge was I now held a special duty position, was married with three children and my spouse was also in school and employed full-time.

I certainly did not choose the easy button by taking care of my education early in my career and with less responsibility on the home front.

What I will share with you is it took time to realize I was not only marketing myself for that moment, but also for when I retire and take the uniform off. Don’t procrastinate with your education and invest in yourselves!

My final thought is understand three “Ws”: why, where and when.

Why did you join the world’s most elite Air or Space Force?

For me, I have been around the military my entire life, so it was an easy decision to follow in my family’s footsteps and it gave me such a feeling of pride.

Where do you come from?

We all come from different backgrounds, but that is what makes us so strong. Don’t ever forget where you came from and bring that to the team. Share your amazing experiences and talents with the world! Also, think about the first time you wore the uniform, which is another part of where you are from.

When did you commit?

I enlisted in the Air Force in June 1995, but I did not commit until 12 Sept, 2001; the day after the attacks on America. That day, I realized the United States of America needed me. What I challenge everyone who reads this is to think about how America needs you just as much today. No matter what your job is and no matter your rank, you are vital to the Team! One Team, One Fight!