Chief selectee follows in footsteps of father

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brigitte Brantley
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
When an Airman receives the honor of being chosen to become a chief master sergeant, he is continuing a 50-year tradition of the Air Force's top enlisted rank.

When a son accomplishes the same thing that his father did years earlier, he is continuing a family tradition.

Senior Master Sgt. Ronald Hall, 820th Combat Operations Squadron superintendent, has achieved both. He will pin on the rank of chief master sergeant later this fall, 26 years after his father earned the same rank in the same career field.

"When I was younger, I would always ask my father what he had done at work that day," said Sergeant Hall. "Due to the secrecy involved with the intelligence career field, the only answer I ever got was, 'I can't tell you,' and that mystery intrigued me."

After deciding to join the same branch of service and career field as his father, 17-year-old Sergeant Hall had to get his father to sign the form required for a minor to join the military.

"When my son brought me the papers to sign, I looked at him and asked, 'Are you sure you want to do this?'" said Chief Master Sgt. (retired) Ronald Hall. "I didn't want him coming back to me later and blaming me for not making sure it's what he really wanted to do at the time."

Preparations for basic military training began when Sergeant Hall was sure of his decision.

"Finally, the day came where my dad had to drive me to the airport," said Sergeant Hall. "I didn't quite understand why he was laughing the whole time. Before I got on the plane, his last words of advice were 'don't volunteer' and 'don't do anything stupid.' He knew what I was in for."

After graduating BMT, he was stationed at Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall, England, just 54 miles from the base his father was stationed at.

"It's very cool to me that my first assignment was so close to my dad's last one," said Sergeant Hall. "We would often see each other on weekends and as an airman first class, I was able to take advantage of having a chief as a father by getting his views and opinions on all sorts of situations.

"One of the philosophies that we shared was to never remain stagnant in your career," he added. "Both of us always strived to find something different and out of the ordinary to do. Within a single career field, there are so many opportunities and it's up to each individual to pursue them."

Since his first assignment, Sergeant Hall has been able to visit many countries and states on both assignments and temporary duties. Now on his twentieth assignment, his position at the 820th COS holds him responsible over a group of individuals comprising 12 Air Force specialty codes.

"I like to think that I've had a positive impact on the Airmen I have served with," said Sergeant Hall. "I try to always be available as a mentor and have been told by some of these individuals that both my personal and professional guidance had an impact on their decision to stay in and continue serving.

"In addition to this guidance, I try to always lead by example," he added. "I don't want to be the one individuals point at and say, 'Well, that chief is doing it wrong, so it means I can.' I try to perform above the standards and hope that others will emulate me."

This value of leading by example is one of the reasons why Sergeant Hall's commander thinks his promotion is well deserved.

"Sergeant Hall's selection to receive the rank of chief master sergeant is well-deserved because he is truly a positive leader who has impact in guiding Airmen and missions at every level," said Lt. Col. John Daberkow, 820th COS commander. "Whether working behind the scenes or setting the standards out in front, he is an excellent Air Force role model who is inspiring today's Airmen to become tomorrow's chiefs."

The chief selectee believes strongly in being a positive role model and one aspect of that is adhering to one of the Air Force's core values.

"I always take initiative to practice integrity, going back to the fact I always try to lead by example," he said. "Lack of integrity can endanger lives and ruin careers. I'm in a position where others may copy my behavior, so I make sure it's positive."

Although practicing integrity has helped him get far, he also contributes his success to another action.

"Thinking back on to how I made it this far, it's actually quite simple- I just did my job," Sergeant Hall added. "In every job, there are times where you might not like it, but you should still always strive to do your best in it. The times I didn't like my job, I just persevered, hoping to be able to get a position where I would have the ability to change the process for the better."

Although a good attitude is important to success in the military, Mr. Hall says there are other things that can be vital to achieving the rank of chief that have not changed since he retired in 1988.

"Anyone who is aspiring to become a chief or fill other leadership roles must have visions and goals," he said. "Those then need to be applied to both your actions at home, at work and anywhere else you are involved.

"Another important thing for aspiring leaders is that it will never be about you," added Mr. Hall. "When you are in a senior leadership role, your focus will be on the individuals working under you and completing the mission. You must have a positive attitude toward those individuals because in the end, they are the ones you are serving and that attitude will determine the sort of legacy you leave behind as a chief."