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188th’s Carter selected as Arkansas Air National Guard’s state command chief
Command Chief Master Sgt. Steven Arnold, left, reviews policies with Command Chief Master Sgt. Asa Carter. Chief Carter was recently announced as Chief Arnold’s successor as Arkansas Air National Guard state command chief master sergeant. Chief Carter was previously the 188th Fighter Wing’s command chief master sergeant. (National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Keith Moore/Arkansas National Guard Public Affairs)
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188th's Carter selected as Arkansas Air National Guard's state command chief

Posted 11/27/2012   Updated 11/27/2012 Email story   Print story


by Lt. Col. Keith Moore
Arkansas Air National Public Affairs

11/27/2012 - CAMP JOSEPH T. ROBINSON, NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  -- Brig. Gen. Travis D. Balch, commander of the Arkansas Air National Guard recently announced that state Command Chief Master Sgt. Steven Arnold would be retiring in April and that a panel had selected his successor, Command Chief Master Sgt. Asa Carter from the 188th Fighter Wing based in Fort Smith, Ark.

Carter, who has served as the Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. for the 188th for the past five years, will begin working closely with Arnold immediately to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.

Arnold says he has great confidence in Carter, and that he is an excellent selection as state command chief.

"I don't have any doubt that he can successfully fill this position and take the job to the next level," Arnold said.

In addition to five years as the senior enlisted member of the 188th, Carter previously served 25 years with the 188th Security Forces Squadron, culminating that assignment as the superintendent of the squadron. In civilian life, Carter brings management and personnel experience as a manager with Walmart Corporation.

Looking ahead, Carter said a big focus for him will be the force management issues that lie ahead. But, he notes, even these can be exciting times.

"The one consistent thing I have learned in every job I have had is - change," Carter said. "For the old timers like myself who have been around the Guard for a while, change is difficult... But for our younger Airmen, they thrive on it. It keeps them from getting bored."

Carter said his compass to help the organization navigate change is communications with all levels.

"There is possibly some tumultuous change that lies just over the horizon," Carter said. "We have a strong and dedicated team of Airmen in our units. They have proven they can tackle most any challenge. The linchpin in keeping that train on the tracks is communications with all levels."

In addition to internal communications - top down and bottom up - Carter notes that continuing the battle cry of the Guard's value to America, both to the leaders in Washington and the public, is critical.

"We have got to get this message across to every member, from general officer to the newest Airman, they need to know what this means and how it affects them and their careers," Carter said. "Then we need to equip each member with a card they carry that has the significant elements of this argument readily available for them to use in helping tell our story."

One process that Carter believes in as a necessary tool in managing change is mentorship.

"I don't proclaim to know it all or have all the answers," he said. "I seek mentoring regularly. I talk with Chief Arnold a lot, and I even contact Command Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Normal Gilchrest [former Arkansas ANG command chief] occasionally for his counsel on things. And, as a leader I try to grow our younger Airmen through mentorship myself."

Mentoring, above and below his level, will be an integral part of the future of the Guard as a number of key positions are transitioning nearly simultaneously, both locally and nationally.

"This is going to be an interesting time for the organization," Arnold said. "In a very short time we will be getting new people as command chiefs of both wings in the state, the state command chief, the command chief of the Air Guard and of the Air Force, and we will be getting a new director of the Air Guard and recently a new Chief of Staff of the Air Force."

Carter says the leadership changes can be a challenge or an awesome opportunity, but with new representation the force is assured that they will all have to work together to set a path toward the force of 2025.

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