JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas --
Three senior enlisted Special Agents conducted a mentoring session with members of JBSA Office of Special Investigations units March 25, 2022, designed to provide guidance and strategic development.
The trio of senior enlisted leaders, Special Agents Michael Stewart, 4th Field Investigations Region; Michael McTiernan, 11th Field Investigations Squadron senior enlisted leader; and Kevin McCray, 3rd FIS senior enlisted leader, shared their insights.
Chief Master Sgt. Stewart joined Senior Master Sgts. McTiernan and McCray to conduct the latest in a series of “2 Seniors and a Chief” sessions aimed at addressing issues of concern to OSI enlisted personnel.
OSI in San Antonio has approximately 200 professionals representing 11 different Air Force careers, including special agents, analysts, logistics, financial management, administration, cyber and intelligence skillsets.
Personnel of the 3 FIS in San Antonio are administratively aligned under the OSI Investigations, Collections and Operations Nexus (ICON) Center, in Quantico, Virginia. Plus, the Office of Special Projects and the Office of Procurement Fraud Investigations, both headquartered at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington D.C., and 4 FIR represent the officer, enlisted and civilian forces.
Mentoring, developing future leaders
Although the conversation centered on enlisted issues, all JBSA OSI members were invited to attend the event in-person or via live-streaming on Zoom. Roughly 65 members attended the event in person or virtually.
“The benefit of having so many [command] personnel in a single location gives us the ability to leverage the cross-talk and exchange of ideas that occurs in order to strengthen OSI,” McCray said.
The trio began by having the audience stand up and engage with people they didn’t know, to start a dialogue that would open the door to future communication and collaboration.
Among the topics discussed were recruitment, career development, stress management, resiliency and Airmanship.
During the question-and-answer session, the three leaders offered an open discussion and an unfiltered look at each of their experiences in OSI and the Air Force, which shaped their perspectives and outlook as Airmen leaders.
The senior NCOs said they hoped by sharing their experiences and providing honest, vulnerable answers to questions, they could make a positive impact on those in attendance; something a formal event may not offer, they said.
“My favorite thing to do is to champion your accomplishments,” Stewart said. “OSI personnel work extremely hard and perform a very difficult and important mission and deserve to be acknowledged.”
Stewart also encouraged other Airmen leaders in the audience to be sure to “recognize your folks, even if it’s a simple pat on the back,” he added.
‘Developing Our 300’
Many personnel from the 11th FIS opted to do their “Developing Our 300” event early that day, McTiernan said. The DO300 is a reference to a nickname former Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein coined, which refers to 300 Spartan warriors who faced a far larger Persian army in ancient times.
The DO300 program helps OSI teams cultivate stronger relationships of trust and communication to help avoid catastrophic stress through offloading and releasing stress like a valve.
As a result, team members can communicate sooner when adverse signs of stress arise. OSI’s most lethal weapon system is its people, McTiernan said, and DO300 keeps the weapon system in peak operating condition.
The three leaders described instances they failed to handle stress as well as they could have. However, they added how they have learned to reduce stress in multiple ways, like drawing boundaries between their work and personal lives, seeking mental health help, allowing time for decompression and deliberately investing time in their families.
In the end, Stewart, McTiernan and McCray said they enjoyed the opportunity to engage with command members in the Alamo City area, are looking forward to helping forge the next generation of OSI leaders, and to continue the collaboration through many other social and professional events in the future.