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AFSOC command chief speaks with Cannon’s NCOs, SNCOs

link U.S. Air Force photo: Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Caruso, Air Force Special Operations Command command chief, shares his experiences and advice with non-commissioned officers and senior NCOs at an all call Aug. 14 at Cannon Air Force Base. Travelling around the globe to advise and motivate Air Commandos is part of Caruso’s aim to “give back” to the Air Force.

27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

NCOs and Senior NCOs at the 27th Special Operations Wing had the opportunity to pick the brain of Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Caruso, Air Force Special Operations Command command chief, and receive frank guidance here during an all-call on Aug. 14.

Caruso touched on topics ranging from his personal Air Force story to what it takes to be an exemplary, well-rounded leader during a time when it appears that Airmen are being asked to do more with less.

“I come from a poor, American-Italian family from New York City,” Caruso said. “It’s a story that is pretty common in our force. My parents divorced when I was seven and eventually my father remarried. Unfortunately, my stepmom was an abusive woman and to cope with the things I was going through I did some bad things: I stole and I fought and did some things I was not proud of.”

“So both my parents had passed away when I was 17 years old, I lived with my 74 year old grandmother, worked two jobs out on Long Island and I was in a bad place when I found the Air Force and it gave me light,” Caruso said. “For that reason, and many more of the great things the Air Force has done for me and my family, I’ll give back to this service until the day I die. I found my “why” as your Chief. I serve at the needs of the force; for you, that’s my “why". Each of you should find your own “why” and then get after your goals and follow your dreams since life and your career are way too short.”

And the chief is giving back. Traveling across the globe to dole out concentrated doses of knowledge has become his mission. During his visit to Cannon Air Force Base, Caruso shared the importance of being “PME strong.”

“Physical, Mental and Emotional strength,” Caruso said. “That’s what we should be focusing on for ourselves and our troops. When you maintain these aspects of your life, you bring credit upon yourself and your unit. We also do that by demonstrating dignity and respect and taking care of each other in all things. Air Commandos are strong because we still take the people piece of our mission very seriously.”

Another tone Chief Caruso hit on was to be humble and exhibit professional will in all actions. The Chief further explained that by demonstrating these two characteristics in action, Airmen will find themselves and their teammates accomplishing extraordinary things more effectively and efficiently.

Despite the emphasis being placed on AFSOC’s most valuable assets, the operations side of the house has not been neglected.

“Our priorities are to provide combat-ready forces, create an environment for Airmen and their families to thrive, transform training to optimize human performance and modernize and sustain the force,” Caruso said.

“If we cultivate a culture where our NCOs and SNCOs lead from the front, we will see our goals come to fruition,” he continued. “You have to believe in what it means to be in that role. The day Airmen stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.”