New command chief ready to serve Airmen

Chief Master Sgt. Gordon Drake, 62nd Airlift Wing command chief, speaks to a group of spouses at the quarterly Deployed Families Dinner June 11, 2012, at the McChord Field Chapel Support Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Drake expressed his appreciation for hard-working spouses and emphasized the importance of a strong family. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Leah Young)

Chief Master Sgt. Gordon Drake, 62nd Airlift Wing command chief, speaks to a group of spouses at the quarterly Deployed Families Dinner June 11, 2012, at the McChord Field Chapel Support Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Drake expressed his appreciation for hard-working spouses and emphasized the importance of a strong family. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Leah Young)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- From touring different work areas and attending several official functions to participating in the last operational readiness exercise, the new command chief hit the ground running when he showed up the first day of work.

Chief Master Sgt. Gordon Drake, the 62nd Airlift Wing's new command chief, has been here for less than three months, but he's quickly learning about the 62nd AW and is ready to take on the position as top enlisted advisor.

"I'm very excited to be here and to be hand-picked for the command chief position is a blessing," said Drake, a Texas native. "So far, I've been thoroughly impressed with all our Airmen here. I've never seen a group of more motivated, creative and technologically adaptable people with good ideas."

Drake's previous assignment was maintenance group superintendent for the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. He brings 27 years of experience, fulfilling a number of leadership positions throughout his career.

"During the selection process, Chief Drake stood out as an Airman who embodies the Air Force core values and sets the bar and pace for the enlisted force," said Col. Wyn Elder, 62nd AW commander. "All his answers to my questions began with, 'How would that affect Airmen?' I knew right away Chief Drake 'gets it,' and would always put Airmen's needs ahead of his own. That's the type of command chief I was looking for. His experience combined with his personality made him the perfect choice for my top enlisted advisor and I have no doubt he will guide our Airmen to achieve great things."

As the top enlisted advisor for the 62nd AW, Drake has a vision for what he wants to accomplish here.

"I tell Airmen all the time that I've been doing this for 27 years and I can only do it for another three," he said. "I want to spend the last three years of my career trying to make things better for the next generation. If I can leave here knowing that I've made some improvements, knock down some road blocks, and strengthen the joint base relationship, I think I'll be happy."

In addition, the chief also set his expectations for Airmen and NCOs.

"I expect Airmen to adhere to standards and I really want to them to make responsible choices," said Drake. "Whether it's deciding to be the designated driver or studying hard for a promotion test, these are all choices we have to make and we have to make the responsible ones."

"For NCOs, I expect them to strive to exceed standards and be a role model," he added. "Be somebody the Airmen want to emulate or look up to."

Being the senior command chief at JBLM, Drake wants Airmen to know he's available for them.

"I'm here for you," he said. "I want to be visible and approachable. If you see me out and about, I want you to stop me and introduce yourself and your family, tell me where you work, and just talk to me because I just want to talk to you."

When he's not busy advising the commander or getting to know Airmen, Drake spends his free time enjoying his family and the outdoors.

"I'm excited to spend time with my family in the cool, crisp Northwest," he said. "I'm also looking forward to building a closer working relationship with the garrison and I want to figure out what joint basing is all about because I'm new to all this, but I'm excited."