Q&A with new Command Chief

  • Published
  • By Maj. Brooke Davis
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt. Kenellias Smith is the new Command Chief at the 446th Airlift ‘Rainier’ Wing.


In an announcement to the wing, Col. Scott L. McLaughlin, 446th AW commander, wrote, “Chief Smith has an impressive professional background and history of excellence. I am thoroughly convinced he will do outstanding things for the 446th Airlift Wing.”


Members will get to meet Smith during the October Unit Training Assembly. He took a little time for a question and answer session about topics ranging from his leadership style to enjoying the Pacific Northwest.


Q: What would you like the men and women of the Rainier Wing to know about you and your leadership style?

A: I am very much a servant leader by default. Of course situations may dictate a different approach to get the job done in certain cases, but leadership is all about doing what’s needed to prepare, equip, inspire and motivate our Airmen.


Q: Can you tell us a little about your career leading up to this point?

A: Sure, started at Barksdale Air Force Base as a propulsion tech on B-52 and A-10s; moved over to phase inspection on B-52s and A-10s as shop Chief, then over to Maintenance Analysis as a Superintendent. As an additional duty, I became a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Leadership Course Facilitator.  Then I transferred to the 301st Fighter Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, as Propulsion Superintendent on F-16s. After that, I moved into the role of the 301st Maintenance Squadron Superintendent. Now I’m very excited to be a part of the 446th here in the great Pacific Northwest.


Q: What do you like most about being a Citizen Airman?

A: The feeling that comes along with being able to support and defend our country. I always have a huge smile on the week following a UTA when I’m approached with the question, “So what did you do this weekend?”


Q: In general terms, what do you think are some challenges that Citizen Airmen have to face and how do you as a Command Chief plan to help address those challenges?

A: Some of the challenges I believe we have stem around empowering our airman to be leaders at all levels. The Commander and I have discussed some ideas already. The plan is to engage the senior leadership and revitalize a few things to help. More to come!


Q: The Rainier Wing has a lot of outdoor-type folks here who enjoy climbing, biking, hiking and competing in athletic events like the Iron Man. Do you have any hobbies and interests you’d like to share?

A: Well I have officially been in the area for a year, so got here just in time for last winter. I’ve come to enjoy hiking but by no measure am I an expert. Tried trail biking just a few weeks ago and didn’t get far…the trail ate my bike alive! I ended up pushing it back and had to tighten up a few things. I will attempt it again soon.


Q: What do you consider your top priorities as the Command Chief?

A: Airmen, Airmen, Airmen…..want to get out and meet our folks, learn all about them and what they do. I know the 446th has amazing people doing remarkable things.


Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: I’m excited to be a part of the 446th and I look forward to being a part of the Rainier Wing’s mission.