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Senior Master Sgt. Abel Ochoa Jr. receives his Chief Master Sgt. selection certificate from Col. David Graff, 325th Fighter Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Raymond DeVite, 325th Fighter Wing Command Chief during a Chief Master Sgt. selection ceremony Nov. 14. Chief Master Sgt. select Ochoa is the Air Forces Northern Superintendent of International Military Affairs, Plans, Policy International Military Affairs Directorate.
AFNORTH NCO selected for Chief
Posted 11/20/2013 Updated 11/20/2013
by Mary McHale
AFNORTH Public Affairs
11/20/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – They were lessons learned early, but they were lasting lessons.
Senior Master Sgt. Abel Ochoa Jr., Air Forces Northern Superintendent of International Military Affairs, Plans, Policy International Military Affairs Directorate (A5), credits such lessons for his latest success – selection for promotion to chief master sergeant in the regular Air Force.
“I matured at a very young age working the ranch life in South Texas.” Ochoa said. “I was 14 when my father passed away but by that time, he had taught me the basic fundamentals of life – hard work pays off; don’t talk when you should be listening; respect life; see the glass half full, I could go on and on. So naturally, I carry this philosophy as an Airman and the man I am today.”
With his promotion selection, Ochoa already set his sights forward, echoing the philosophy of Command Chief Master Sgt. Richard Parsons of Air Combat Command.
“I want to lead our people to see this profession, as Chief Parsons put it, as ‘a calling versus a career; commitment versus compliance to standards; be a leader of influence,’ ” Ochoa said.
But according to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Tidwell, A5 Director, Ochoa is already a leader of influence.
“Congratulations to Senior Master Sergeant Ochoa for reaching this important milestone in his Air Force career,” Tidwell said. “He forms the bedrock of the Air Forces Northern Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) program by expanding our relations with our North American partners. His invaluable expertise in building partnership capacity through active engagement shapes U.S. Northern Command air domain security capabilities. Abel is well deserving of the duties of Chief and I know he will be the best Chief the AF has.”
Prior to coming to Air Forces Northern in March, he was superintendent of the 318th Training Squadron, Inter American Air Forces Academy, Lackland Air Force Base,Texas. He was the senior enlisted leader of 44 enlisted, civilian and partner-nation personnel.
“My last assignment at Lackland was with the Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA) where I spent four and a half years and where I first got interested and fascinated with Theater Security Cooperation (TSC),” Ochoa said. “IAAFA is a unique school house where the U.S. trains and educates students from roughly 26 Latin American countries in 34 courses ranging from Professional Military Education to aircraft maintenance, all taught in Spanish. Its mission is to build partnerships not just with the U.S. , but with the different countries that attend. The interesting thing about this academy is that it actually pre-dates our Air Force by four years.”
Ochoa enlisted in the Air Force as Operation DESERT STORM kicked off in 1991. Calling it “one of the best decisions I ever made,” he began his career as an aerospace ground equipment specialist and remained in that career field in various capacities.
Thus far, he’s traveled to 37 countries, Alaska and Hawaii, but counts an assignment as a technical training instructor at Sheppard AFB, Texas as his favorite.
“The most rewarding feeling for me was when my students grasped and understood the concepts and then applied them in their daily duties,” he said. “The proverbial ‘light coming on’ in their heads gave me a sense of accomplishment. When I get e-mails from former students telling me that I was a positive influence in shaping their personal and professional careers, it means everything.”
That kind of feedback was probably the result of another long-ago learned lesson he’s carried throughout his career. He recounted when he was an Airman First Class, the trainer-supervisor assigned to him cut corners during Ochoa’s on the job training. After this oversight resulted in erroneous responses from Ochoa during subsequent maintenance tasks, he hit the books.
“From that point on, I learned to confirm everything with Instructions, policies or directives established by the Air Force,” he said. “I wanted to know my job in accordance with established guidelines. I didn’t want someone to tell me I wasn’t doing my job. I impressed this point upon all my students I taught in technical school.”
Then, his thoughts turn to what else brought him to this point.
He explained it was Chief Master Sgt. Linus Jordan, Command Chief, Air Force Space Command, who advised him : “the more stripes you have on your sleeve are not about you; they are about the people you serve.”
It is a point Ochoa doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge.
“While there are too many people to mention who helped me to this point, I want to say thank you to them all for believing in me. To the Airmen I’ve had the privilege to work with and those to come, I say leave the Air Force better than when you came in.”
And he advises how.
“Use candid feedback,” he said. “Because we are such a diverse force, we can all look at a potential improvement area and come up with different ways to make it better. If there was ever a time to improve efficiency in the force, it is now with tighter budget constraints.”
As for his future goals, Ochoa looks forward to finishing his master’s degree in international relations and setting his sights on achieving command chief status.
Article source: http://www.1af.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123371467