Raise the bar by raising your hand

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Angela Blue, 1st Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, speaks to Paul. W. Airey NCO Academy students during their graduation Dec. 20, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Angela Blue, 1st Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, speaks to Paul W. Airey NCO Academy students during their graduation Dec. 20, 2017. During her speech, Blue spoke to graduates about personal development and walking the line as a leader. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

From the first moment an Airman raises their hand to take the Oath of Enlistment, leaders in the Air Force look for those who will continue to raise their hand.

During a recent Paul W. Airey NCO Academy graduation, Senior Master Sgt. Angela Blue, 1st Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, spoke to graduates about personal development and walking the line as a leader.

“If they are here, they are already leaders,” Blue said. “They are the subject matter experts at their jobs and they have already been supervising Airmen. This class is required to become a senior NCO. This isn’t the basics, it gives graduates a little more of a voice and the confidence needed during development.”

Blue is an Air Force Combat Action Medal and a Purple Heart recipient. She has also been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Army Combat Action Badge and Army Combat Medical Badge.

“I know that past experiences have made me stronger as a leader,” Blue said. “I am a firm believer that if you want to get somewhere you need to raise your hand. It doesn’t matter what you are doing or where you are going, if you want to open that next door, you need to raise your hand for the door in front of you.”

The Airey NCO Academy’s course is designed to develop future leaders and prepare NCOs to step into the ranks of senior NCOs. The course teaches communication strategies with subordinates and fellow leaders.

“In order to develop leaders, you have to let them lead,” Blue said. “You have to give them boundaries, but let them walk that line sometimes. As a leader, you must be truthful and let others know when they are slipping. Truly good leaders can take that criticism and build upon it. You have to build people up by telling them the truth.”

As the Air Force moves forward into the future, good leaders will be required to step up and fill the roles of those currently serving. At every step of the way, investments in developing leaders will ensure the Air Force’s ability to fly, fight and win.

“For leaders, you want someone who is going to make a decision, they aren’t going to dance around the truth,” Blue said. “They will always have the best interests of their subordinates and their team at heart. It’s important for them to be completely transparent, because the future is unpredictable. We need leaders who are transparent and truthful, in every level of leadership.”