A word from the wise: a command chief's parting thoughts

  • Published
  • By Amn Sean Campbell
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Before joining the Air Force, Chief Master Sgt. Wayne Deist, 141st Air Refueling Wing command chief, worked on a dairy farm and went to school. After a short time, he realized he wasn't ready for college. In 1981, Deist decided to follow in his father's footsteps and enlist in the United States Air Force as an aircraft engine mechanic.

Deist started his first enlistment moving around. He was first stationed at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois then went north to Eielson AFB, Alaska, and, lastly, Travis AFB, California. While at Travis, Deist was given the opportunity of a full time reserve position at what is now former Kelly AFB, Texas.

"I tried to further myself personally and professionally and take advantage of opportunities," said Deist.

After three years of being in Texas, Deist decided to make another switch. In 1988 Deist transferred to the Washington Air National Guard so he could bring his wife and three children closer to family in Spokane.

"At the beginning of my career I was the most important, but things changed. Now my family is the most important," said Deist.

In 2006, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission required the guard and active duty to work together in a total force environment. This was the first time Deist had seen both parts of Fairchild work together with regularity. Both active duty and guard had less numbers, making working together the best way to capitalize on efficiencies, continuity and budget.

"Active duty serves its part with their pace, numbers and experience," said Deist. "The guard serves as the continuity with a different kind of experience that comes from being in a single place for a longer period of time. The two working together makes a more efficient force."

Deist assumed the position of Command Chief for the 141st ARW in September of 2011, and retired Sept. 13 after serving a total of 34 years in the Air Force. He deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and more. The camaraderie, legacy and lineage that come with being a guardsman, and the belief in what he did as a member of the Air Force, is why he loved his job and decided to stay for more than three decades.

"It's important for people to find value in something because that drives you to be successful," said Deist.

Deist would recommend to young Airmen, who want to succeed, that they need to be the best Airman they can be at what they do. One way to do that is to find a mentor - someone you see as successful both personally and professionally.

"Over time I think most leaders come to realize their legacy is not measured in deeds, the things they have received, or by what people say," said the chief. "My legacy will be the Airmen I impacted and how the things I've said and done changed the way they lead their Airmen tomorrow."