Warrior of the Week: NCO eager to tackle multiple roles

Jazzmin Williams

Contributing Writer

U.S. Navy photos by Chris Aguinaldo

Airman, family man, leader, mentor and rodeo team member -these are just some of the many roles taken on by Master Sgt. Timothy R. Ledford, Joint Base Pearl

Harbor-Hickam’s (JBPHH) Warrior of the Week.

That last role, in particular, has been keeping him incredibly busy. He will be among other JBPHH team members from the 15th Wing and 647th

Security Forces Squadron at Hickam who have been selected to compete in the biennial 2011 Air

Mobility Command Rodeo at Joint Base Lewis-McChord next month.

“It’s been hectic,” said the loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron (AS), “but you deal with it just like everybody else, plus I have leadership that is 100 percent supportive.”

Ledford is considered “one of the best we’ve got in the 535th

AS,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Winstead, squadron commander.

“In the office and on the jet, he’s an expert and a leader. He was an easy pick for this year’s rodeo team,” Winstead said. “Master Sgt. Ledford and the rest of the team have been practicing hard for this competition and they will win – no doubt.”

Ledford, a Muskegon, Mich. native, has been in the Air Force for 17 years, with the last year and a half at JBPHH. Not only has he been on the job, but as a husband and father of three girls, he said he has been reaping the benefits of living on an island in paradise.

“The experience my kids are getting from all of the beach activities and doing stuff around the islands is something they’ll remember their whole lives,” Ledford said.

On a daily basis, he not only handles his many duty responsibilities, but he is also a key member of the 535th AS rodeo team, adding practice beyond their usual duties. This is Ledford’s first rodeo, but he said he is used to learning quickly.

This may be because of the real life situations that he has had to train for, train others for, and react to. For example, after the tsunami in Japan the squadron was involved in emergency evacuations.

As a loadmaster, he has been involved in humanitarian aid around the world. And when he sees how he and other Airmen can have a profound impact on people, he knows he picked the right career.

“That’s when it really hits home, when you coordinate airlifting a bridge and see it on the news that night, that’s when you know what you’re doing is worthwhile,” he said.

He also is a firm believer that he would not have gotten where he is today without excellent leadership. He said 535th AS leadership, which includes Senior Master Sgt. Charles Baker and Senior Master Sgt. Terry Topouzoglou, has been vital in his path to success. He added that it has been empowering for him that they trust their men, let them run things, and that they don’t micromanage, and let them get it done.

“For enlisted folks it starts with excellent leadership,” said Ledford. “It’s great to sit back and watch them do what they do.”

Learning from them, and others, has proved instrumental in Ledford’s style of leadership today. He explained that it is gratifying for him to be able to take a brand new loadmaster out of technical school and mold him or her into the loadmaster (and Airman), he wants them to be. Watching them excel and upgrade is rewarding and a testament to his leadership, he said.

“I’m training people to take my place because no one will be here forever,” said Ledford.

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Category: Warrior of the Week