Moody welcomes new command chief

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jordan Garner; Andrea Jenkins
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

The Flying Tigers of the 23rd Wing welcomed a new command chief June 6, 2022, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

Chief Master Sgt. Justin Geers joins the wing from Hanscom Air Force Base,
Massachusetts, where he was the senior enlisted leader for the 66th Security
Forces Squadron. Geers is no stranger to Team Moody and South Georgia
having served nine of his 22-year career working in a variety of roles with
the 820th Base Defense Group.

As the command chief, the career defender will act as a liaison between the
wing commander and those who execute the Attack - Rescue - Prevail mission,
primarily focusing on the enlisted force and families. He will advise the
commander on all matters regarding the readiness, training, professional
development and the effective utilization of the 5,500 total force Airmen.

The 23rd Wing Public Affairs sat down with Moody's newest leader to find out
who he is and what he hopes to bring to the team during his tenure.

Q. What's your hometown?
A. My hometown is Sparta Michigan.

Q. Married? Kids?
A. I am married to Heather Geers. We have one son. He is 14 years old. And we have a German shepherd named Ranger, and he is six years old.

Q. Is this your first assignment as a Command Chief?
A. It is my first time as Command Chief. It's very overwhelming, but it's also very satisfying. Most of that derives from the fact that I get to interact with so many different people and personalities.

Q. What do you hope to bring to the Attack, Rescue, Prevail mission?
A. First, what I hope to bring first you need to understand that I fully comprehend the enlisted command chiefs that have served before me. I understand what they have done. So I want to make sure that that's not forgotten, that I capture that as we move forward and enhance what already exists.

Q. What are your goals for the 23rd Wing?
A. There are two goals that I have. The first goal is to better learn the mission and fully understand what the direction of the 23rd Wing is. And the other side of that is the family and how the family supports that mission and how we can better enhance our family and the use of our family to move the mission down the field so to speak.

Q. So far, what has been your favorite assignment?
A. My favorite assignment has been Osan, Korea. At the time our son was 10 years old and we lived in Pyeongtaek on the local economy. We were at a local school where there was a basketball court. It was a gorgeous night and there were two Korean kids who challenged us to the game. Although we didn't understand what each other were really saying, we were sharing this beloved game, which is universal around the world, in the Republic of Korea. And I just had to tell my son, “Absorb this. It's so incredible. You're in a different country playing basketball against two Korean kids and you'll never get this opportunity again.” Our family experiencing a different culture gave us a better appreciation of where we came from or where we're going.

Q. Tell us about your time with the BDG here.
A. I served two tours in the BDG; one from 2004- 2009 as a Staff Sgt. and Technical Sgt. and one through 2014- 2017 as a Master Sgt. and Senior Master Sgt. The first tour really set the foundation for my career. When I was a young Staff Sgt., it allowed me to really see the battlefield with a different perspective, something I hadn't had coming out of Whiteman Air Force Base as an Airman. It gave me opportunities such as Ranger School, airborne, and deployments. I deployed four times while I was assigned to the 820th. At that time, it was called the 820th Security Forces Group and each BDS was an SFS. The opportunities that existed in the BDG and the subsequent squadrons don't typically exist in your normal Security Forces Squadron. To have access to some of the greatest leaders in the Air Force that had combat experience that I had never met before was an amazing opportunity because now I can give back in that same capacity.

Q. What do you like about the 23rd Wing?
A. What I like about the 23rd wing are the personalities and the people. I've had many conversations already, and I can see it's a very dynamic work environment where each individual is valued and can bring a lot to the table. It's something that I know that I can learn from and I can be a better person because of my interactions with the people here.

Q. What do you like about Moody as a whole?
A. It's very sleepy when you look at it. It doesn't look like there's a lot of movement going on. But if you truly understand the mission here, you'll understand and appreciate that there's a lot going on, not just here, but around the world.

Q. What's your favorite sports team?
A. I really hate to admit this, but I am a Detroit fan. All things Detroit; Lions, Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings. And I'm a Michigan Wolverines fan as well.

Q. What's your favorite food?
A. My favorite food is Mexican food.

Q. What is your leadership style?
A. I would say my leadership style is flexible and adaptable. It really has to be in today's society because we have the most intelligent and innovative Airmen we've ever had. They have so much value and they bring so much to the fight. As a leader we have to be able to adapt to each situation, personality and event that seems to constantly change who we are as an individual, a team and really as a society.

Q. What are some of your hobbies?
A. Some of my hobbies are spending time with my family. We do a lot of hiking, fishing and hunting. I also enjoy playing piano.

Q. What's your favorite song to play?
A. I would have to say “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. It’s probably one of the more difficult ones, but it has a certain feel to it that you get lost in. It's a long song and it takes a long time to learn.

Q. Your ideal vacation spot?
A. Right here in Georgia. I absolutely love Georgia and that's gonna seem weird to a lot of people that I'm not picking somewhere like Hawaii, or the Bahamas, but I love Georgia. There's so much to do here with the access to the lakes and back roads and that's what we do as a family. We would take vacations down here, just to be part of what Georgia has to offer and that's the culture.

Q. What’s your favorite dad joke?
A. I don't have a verbal dad joke, but what I do like to do is place things under my son's pillows, my wife's pillow and their blankets. We have this little rubber mouse and I always put it underneath their pillow or their blankets, and I just wait because it's the reaction I'm looking for. I know it's coming back to me. And there'll be other things my son will put under my pillow like Gatorade bottles and chips, so when I lay my head down it crunches. I know it's silly but it's fun.

Q. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A. I would live right here in South Georgia. Valdosta and the surrounding community is amazing. I enjoy the culture, people and relationships. It's a little bit slower as far as the operation goes. And you can sit and have a conversation with anybody. I enjoy the smell of the Georgia pines. The pecans or pecans, however you want to pronounce it. All of that combined makes for an amazing place to live.

Q. What advice would you give to the younger Airmen?
A. The first thing is to form your opinions based on your experience, not other people's experience of what they say happened to them. Go out there and forge your own experience so you can make calculated decisions based on where you are and what your goals are. The second thing is to be compassionate as you grow throughout your career. Your perspective is going to change. As you gain that experience, you’ll start to realize that you could have been a little more compassionate to other people's situations and even sometimes to your own. And that leads me into the word failure. We use failure a lot and I want our airmen to understand that they have to define failure for themselves. The only thing that I would say is a failure in anybody's life is the fact that they had an opportunity they chose not to take. Everything else is just a learning experience and later down the road, you use that to influence other people.

Q. Explain some of your background as Security Forces, the Ranger tab and what it means to you.
A. The Ranger tab itself is an indication of a leadership school. It was a five-year journey for me from start to finish. What should have been a 62-day course turned out to be 126 days; throughout that was a lot of sacrifice. My wife was eight months pregnant at the time with Austin. She had been in a rear end accident hit by a drunk driver twice while I was in Atlanta, Georgia, which is the mountain phase of Ranger School. And throughout that five-year journey, there were a lot of things that told me I can use this as an excuse and just quit because it's really hard to sustain that type of physical and mental requirement to get through and graduate ranger school. But that wasn’t the hard part. Wearing the Ranger tab, living up to the Ranger Creed and everything that everybody expects out of somebody that has the Ranger tab on the sleeve is the hardest thing to do. It's the same thing when you become Chief; you haven't arrived. Now the hard part starts because you have to give back to the airman. That's why we're here wearing these stripes. That's what it's all about. Throughout the Ranger School journey, I learned a lot about myself. How do I motivate myself to motivate 60, 80 or 100 other service component soldiers and Marines to follow me and trust me to lead them to the objective? And I realized it came through a couple of things; having a great personality and positive attitude in the worst conditions ever. And that's just carried on in my career. There have been obstacles and challenges where I thought maybe if I didn't experience what I did in Ranger School, I would quit at this. But I look at it in a different perspective.

Q. What do you want the airmen to take away from this interview?
A. What I want our Airmen, Flying Tigers, Team Moody and the surrounding community to take from this is that I have a first name. I'm not just Chief, I'm Justin. One of my leadership philosophies is that I operate off the hierarchy of life before the chain of command. You're somebody's son, probably somebody's spouse, a child, you might have a degree, we have airmen that have their personal pilot's license, you have so much more. There's so much value in one person, but we have to understand they’re human beings first and once I do that, now I'm invested in you, and you have more value than just what your rank is. That's how I see our people. I don't look at the uniform. It's part of what we do, and I respect it. However, I want to know who you are, and I want you to know who I am, which is so much more than this uniform and what I'm wearing right here.

Excited to serve as the 23rd Wing's command chief, Geers is looking forward
to what the next two years will offer as he does what Tigers do best...Lead.