VOLK FIELD, Wis. - The large room was filled with rank. Airmen from around the country ranging from chief master sergeant through lieutenant general were in attendance at the 2014 Air National Guard Executive Safety Summit, held May 11-14 at Volk Field Air National Guard Base.
The safety summit's theme this year was, "Leaders: Don't Let Your Guard Down." The summit gave leadership nationwide a chance to come together to learn about the good things that have happened in the Air National Guard, the lessons they should take back with them to ensure young Airmen are given the guidance and leadership they need, and the preventative steps leadership can take to decrease the number of mishaps that occur each year.
"When we talk about safety being a commander's program or a leader's program, it's really about presence," said Maj. Gen. Kurt F. Neubauer, U.S. Air Force Chief of Safety and Air Force Safety Center commander. "And it's presence from a standpoint of what you say, and its presence, I think, from a standpoint of what you do and how you interact with your Airmen."
Interaction with Airmen was a theme that was discussed numerous times throughout the summit. Even during one of the breakout sessions Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, Air National Guard director, touched on the topic again.
"It's about the belief in yourself," Clarke said. "It's about the belief in others around you. And what that does for you, is it raises the tide for everything. If you can get that understanding amongst the people that there is opportunity out there and they see it happening, and then they see the people who are moving up, and they are telling others about things like core values and what it means to develop yourself personally and professionally, it brings the whole organization up. That's what I care about personally."
In addition to focusing on what steps they should take to ensure Airmen are at the top of their priority list, the leadership group also discussed topics like social media, budget, fitness, and readiness.
"I'm really proud of where we've come in the Air National Guard," Clarke said. "We've had an opportunity to do so many things to make the process better."
Representatives left the summit May 14, prepared to take their summit-inspired readiness information back to their home states.