New Command Chief Master Sgt. takes reins of 99th Air Base Wing

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ryan Whitney
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
He didn't know what he wanted to do after graduating from high school. He never imagined that 21 years later he would hold the wing's highest enlisted position and be responsible for helping more than 6,500 Nellis Airmen rise to high expectations and provide a direct voice for them to the wing commander.

Chief Master Sgt. Rob Brooks, whose career has taken him from maintenance, missiles, mission support, first sergeant and a professional military education director, accepted appointment as the Command Chief for the 99th Air Base Wing in October.

1. What led you to enlist in the Air Force; was there a specific job you wanted to do?
I had just graduated high school and didn't know what else to do, not nearly as honorable or patriotic as today's Airmen, so I joined. I enlisted open general and was put into intercontinental ballistic missile maintenance - and loved it!

2. What has been the most rewarding job in your Air Force career and why?
I have enjoyed all the jobs I've had in the Air Force, but without question, being a first sergeant was the most rewarding. I was able to have an impact on many Airmen's lives and the larger corps. There is no other position where a person can make such a significant difference.

3. Is there any Air Force job you would have liked to have done?
One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't teach Airmen Leadership School. That would have been a great developmental position!

4. What one word would you use to describe yourself?
Creative - I believe I am creative with problem solving and leadership style. I am also fairly demanding. There is no doubt I expect a lot from people. One thing I have found during my career is if you expect a lot from people, they will most likely meet your expectations.

5. What type of Airman were you at the beginning of your career and what do you credit to your success?
In my time, I was an average Airman, but below average by today's standard. Airmen today are more educated and have a sense of patriotism because they are enlisting in a time of war, which is very honorable.

6. What one event or person had a big impact on your career? How?
The birth of my daughter, Ally. It was then when I decided to be the very best I could be in every aspect of my life so I could set the example for my children (father of four). I try to be the very best father, husband and Airman I can be.

7. What are your pet peeves?
Lack of accountability is my biggest pet peeve - when people don't take ownership of their situation. I also don't like clichés - people seem to use these when they cannot think of anything to say. For example, 'working hard or hardly working?' People just need to be real.

8. What do you want your Airmen to know about you?
I can't be successful unless my Airmen are successful, so if they fail in any way, I have failed also.

9. What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
My father told me two things that I have followed all my life. "To whom more is given, more is expected" and "In order to be trustworthy with the big things, you must first be trustworthy with the small things."

10. What advice can you give to new Airmen who hope to be in your position in 20 years?
In order for Airmen to be successful, they need to set themselves apart. This doesn't necessarily mean being better, just distinguishing oneself.

11. Why have you stayed in the Air Force for as long as you have?
I enjoy the strong sense of community within the service. I like when you change careers in the military, you don't have to start all over - you never lose your status and benefits. I've loved my challenges and definitely the people.

12. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in the Air Force and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenges came when I was a first sergeant. I had an Airman die in my arms who wanted to live, as well as an Airman live in my arms who wanted to die. Both of these events changed the way I lead and manage people. They have made me more proactive and compassionate in my leadership strategies.

13. What goals do you have for Nellis?
My goal is to elevate the enlisted professional.

14. If you could change one thing about the Air Force what would it be?
I would pay our junior enlisted Airmen what they are worth.

15. In your opinion, what is the most important core value?
All core values are important - but the most neglected core value is 'Service Before Self.' I think this is the most misunderstood core value. It does not mean service instead of self. Airmen need to take care of themselves and each other before they can take care of their mission.