Executive position provides key leadership support

Staff Sgt. Raymond Barkley, 30th Space Wing executive assistant to the command chief, works at his desk, April 30, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. As the executive assistant to the command chief, Barkley is responsible for a wide variety of tasks, all ensuring maximum efficiency for wing leadership. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shane Phipps/Released)

Staff Sgt. Raymond Barkley, 30th Space Wing executive assistant to the command chief, works at his desk, April 30, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. As the executive assistant to the command chief, Barkley is responsible for a wide variety of tasks, all ensuring maximum efficiency for wing leadership. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shane Phipps/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- In addition to more than 130 standard career fields, the Air Force is comprised of many unique, temporary duty positions.

One such opportunity is a year-long commitment that plays an essential and direct supporting role to wing-level leadership.

"There's never a standard day in the front office," said Staff Sgt. Raymond Barkley, 30th Space Wing executive assistance to the command chief. "Anything from fielding phone calls, to ensuring everything is quality controlled before it goes to the chief's level. There's very rarely a dull moment."

As the executive assistant to the command chief, Barkley is responsible for a wide variety of tasks.

"He does a lot," said Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Peterson, 30th SW Command Chief. "Lately, he's coordinated the wing quarterly and annual awards, he just finished compiling our wing developmental duty nominations, he manages meetings for wing leadership and he oversees the budget for our front office. Basically, he makes everything run smooth."

After submitting a package for the highly competitive duty, selected individuals are interviewed by the command chief, who personally selects the most qualified candidate.

"The amount of mentorship you get in this position is incredible," said Barkley. "You work directly for the highest enlisted member in the wing and the wisdom he can give you is invaluable. When I worked in my regular job, I lived in my own bubble, but working here you see how much thought goes into every decision -- from the many hours of planning, to the meetings, to the number of people who have to concur before it's put into action."

Being a singular-manned assignment, the executive assistant is charged with ensuring strategic decisions can be made with minimal interference.

"With this job you end up doing a lot of outreach, pulling information in and getting a lot of data together so by the time [the chief] has to make a decision, he has everything done already and can see a more finalized product to make informed decisions," said Barkley. "It's a good feeling knowing I'm the guy he can go to for anything, and I'll get it done. There's definitely a great sense of pride in this position."

Wing leadership understands the significant impact the executive assistant has on not only day-to-day operations, but the entire base as well.

"His work allows me to concentrate on strategic wing issues and also focus on critical, tactical issues that affect the wellbeing of our Airmen," said Peterson.

Barkley encourages any noncommissioned officer interested in challenging, yet highly rewarding responsibilities to apply for executive assistant to the command chief.

"I didn't really know what I was getting into at first, but I've learned more in just a few months here than I have in my entire air force career," said Barkley. "You really can't put a price on the mentorship and the levels of decision making you're able to see. If you're an NCO, this is absolutely a job worth taking."