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CMSgt Robert D. Gaylor visits Ramstein Air Base
Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert D. Gaylor speaks to hundreds of Airmen, Aug. 8, 2008, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Chief Gaylor is known for his motivational speeches. During his trip he also traveled to Aviano Air Base, Italy and Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany to speak to a hundred more Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amber Bressler)(Released)
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5th CMSAF visits Ramstein

Posted 8/18/2008   Updated 8/18/2008 Email story   Print story


by Airman Alexandria Mosness
435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

8/18/2008 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The fifth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force shared his wealth of experience and stories with Airmen during his two-day visit to Ramstein Air Base, Germany Aug. 7 and 8.
Retired Chief Master Sgt.Robert D. Gaylor visited Ramstein as part of a 10-day tour of U.S. Air Forces in Europe bases that included stops at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and Aviano Air Base, Italy. 

The 31-year veteran spent more than three years at Headquarters USAFE where he established the USAFE Command Management and Leadership Center for noncommissioned officers, and was later selected as the command Senior Enlisted Advisor. 

Chief Gaylor joined the Air Force at 18 years old, based in part on memories he had of World War II veterans' homecoming celebrations. 

"I was fascinated by the uniform - by the patriotism," he said. "I knew I wanted to be a part of that." 

But surprisingly, the Air Force wasn't his first choice. 

"Believe it or not, I went to join the Navy," said Chief Gaylor. 

However, the two week wait was too long for him, so he went across the hall to the Air Force recruiter, where the wait was only one day. And the rest, as they say, is history, said the Mulberry, Ind., native. 

And part of his history, includes being stationed at Ramstein in 1971. Despite the different missions, more people and newer buildings, the chief was thoroughly impressed with what he saw during his visit to Ramstein. 

"Although my visit was less than two days in length, superb advance planning allowed me to meet and interact with hundreds of assigned Airmen and their families and for that, I am both pleased and privileged," Chief Gaylor said. "Ramstein is a beehive of activity with a variety of important missions and to be able to see firsthand sharp Airmen in action was most impressive. 

"My thanks to the command chiefs, all other chiefs, first sergeants, and key supervisory enlisted members for opening the doors to their units and making the Airmen available for me to share my stories and experiences. " 

The influx and growth of Ramstein is unbelievable, said Chief Gaylor. 

"Population wise, Ramstein is six to seven times bigger than it was in 1971. I can't even find where I used to live because the base has grown so much," he said. 

During his visit, Chief Gaylor had the opportunity to reflect on his career. He had his share of experiences in different jobs, ranging from security forces, to a military training instructor, to the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. And for him, the key to a successful career in the Air Force comes from taking care of the people and letting them take care of the mission, he said. 

His advice to Airmen was that, "There is not any kind of magic pill. You earn your wings everyday," he said. 

They say behind every great man is a great woman, and the chief says he's no exception. He said he couldn't have been successful in his career without the support of his wife, Selma, and his family. 

"The key is communication and explanation. There should be no mysteries. I think when the kids get to an age where they understand, you explain to them, we are a family in the military," said Chief Gaylor, who has been married for 55 years. 

Chief Gaylor retired from the Air Force in 1979, but has continued to travel across the globe to tell the Air Force story. 

"I feel an allegiance to the Air Force. The Air Force was so good to me. I guess it's sort of a payback," he said. "I don't know what I would do if I didn't do this. It's simply what I do, and what I want to do. I share my experiences and 60 years of Air Force knowledge with audiences throughout the Air Force." 

How long will the Chief continue to share his wisdom and experiences with Airmen? He already has nine scheduled base appearances for 2009. 

"As long as I get invites, and my health holds up, I'll probably keep doing it," concluded the man who calls himself the energizer bunny: he just keeps going and going.

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