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He said one of his greatest passions is developing people, putting his mark on the Air Force of the future through teaching, coaching and mentoring and giving airmen the chance to gain valuable experience.
counseling and other resources to help airmen and families work through any issues they have.
Slife has been lauded by local officials for helping make the relationship between Hurlburt Field and surrounding communities stronger than it has been for years.
Slife has been stationed at Hurlburt three times. He said to the extent his military family has a home, Northwest Florida is it.
There had been a culture of secrecy at Hurlburt, but Slife realized there was a lot of what the 1st SOW does that is not classified and could be shared. Highway 98 at the base's main entrance, a project that commanders had been talking about for more than 15 years.
"I want the next person I leave my fingerprints on to be better than me. Better trained, better educated, better experienced," he said.
Deploying for work, though, is what the special operations airmen love, Slife said.
About 8,000 active duty airmen are stationed at Hurlburt Field, the fifth or sixth most populous installation in the Air Force.
"We have no choice. We have to grow our own," he said.
It's not the same in the Air Force.
It's a tremendous responsibility, a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week job that requires a commander who can pick up New Balance 574 Mens Black the phone in the middle of the night and make life or death decisions.
Slife said both events were traumatic, and the wing had to work its way back from it, to deal with the grief, but also look at any lessons that could be learned or if there were any safety concerns that needed to be addressed.
During Slife's command, the 1st SOW's airmen were called on to perform significant national level high visibility missions in which President Barack Obama had the final say, Slife said. He's proud of what they were able to accomplish.
"I could walk away from the Air Force today and feel completely satisfied that I did everything and more New Balance 996 Grey Pink
He also faced the challenge of dealing with two aircraft crashes during his two years at the helm.
he realized the time was ripe for building that bond. All he had to do was pick up the phone and reach out.
A lot of his job has involved taking care of airmen and their families to help them deal with the pressure and stress of constant deployments. He has supported programs that offer New Balance 990v3 Navy
The second crash last summer involved a CV 22 Osprey on a training mission at Hurlburt. Five airmen were injured, some significantly.
It is also the branch's most deployed installation. Since 9/11, the wing's airmen have been deploying continuously to Iraq, Afghanistan and dozens of other locations around the world.
"We've got this enormous machine that makes that happen, that pushes airmen out, receives them when they come back and takes care of their families," he said.
"That takes a lot of emotional energy to be able to lead through that, to get through the grieving process and then deal with the mechanics of taking care of the families," Slife said.
He said when he arrived New Balance 990v3 Pink
There, he observed that in the civilian world when new managers need to be hired, there is no one to promote. Companies go outside and look for people at other jobs who would be a good fit.
In the spring of 2012 a U 28 crashed in Africa and four airmen were killed.
The 1st SOW, the birthplace of Air Force Special Operations, has a storied history from World War II's Doolittle Raiders to today. Slife said he was honored to command the organization that started it all.
"I often say, if you want to see air commandos, coming to Hurlburt Field is a little like going to the zoo to see the animals; this is not their natural habitat," he said. "The natural habitat for air commandos is somewhere out there doing their work."
HURLBURT FIELD When Col. Jim Slife reaches the end of his two years as commander of the Air Force's 1st Special Operations Wing next week, he will be stepping away from what has been a pinnacle assignment in his career.
His next assignment will likely be at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, where he will work in Special Operations Central Command.
Demand for Special Operations airmen is greater than what they are able to provide, so the deployment pace stays steady no matter what is going on in the world, Slife said.
Jim Slife will leave his 'dream job' next week
One of Slife's main goals as a leader is to breed more leaders, something he realized the importance of after a continuing education program sent him to work at Microsoft for a year.
than I ever expected to be able to do," he said. "This has been a dream job."
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