Bentivegna Succeeds Towberman, ‘Has Large Footwear to Fill’ as as Area Power’s High Enlisted

For the primary time ever, the title of Chief Grasp Sergeant of the Area Power modified arms Sept. 15, as Roger A. Towberman retired and handed the mantle on to John F. Bentivegna in a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md. 

Towberman turned the Area Power’s high enlisted member in April 2020, and performed an instrumental function in forming the rudiments of a brand new navy service beneath Chiefs of Area Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond and Gen. B. Probability Saltzman. His contributions to USSF’s foundational cultural touchstones have been many, from distinctive uniforms to health to its distinctive strategy to personnel administration. 

“He formed the character, values, and tradition of the Area Power and guided Gen. Raymond as they constructed the Area Power from the time they have been the one two members,” mentioned Air Power Secretary Frank Kendall throughout the ceremony. “’Toby’ has now helped information the second Chief of Area Operations, Gen. Saltzman and a brand new Secretary of the Air Power, as we work collectively to construct on the muse that he and Gen. Raymond began. His contributions have been actually unprecedented and with out parallel. Chief Bentivegna, you will have some large sneakers to fill.” 

With Towberman’s management and recommendation, the Area Power has: 

Alongside the way in which, Towberman earned a repute as a passionate, partaking chief, blissful to work together with Guardians on web boards like Reddit and recognized to pepper his speeches with self-deprecating jokes, touching private reflections, and philosophical musings on compassionate management and selecting a progress mindset. 

All have been on full show in his retirement speech—he thanked a protracted checklist of mentors, colleagues, and relations, changing into notably emotional when acknowledging his spouse, Rachel Rush, and urging Guardians to push ahead in creating the service. 

“The world won’t ever put together you for the duty of adjusting it,” Towberman mentioned. “Change comes from some other place. Change comes from who you might be. You already know who that’s. You don’t want us to let you know. You don’t want us to construct you. You must be you. You must bear in mind why you raised your hand. You must bear in mind what you might be shifting in direction of, as a result of that’s the Area Power that we’re purported to have. And when you let what we did yesterday preserve that from you, that’s on you.” 

Towberman additionally praised his successor, saying “I couldn’t think about handing over this essential mission I’ve been engaged on to anyone else.” 

Bentivegna and Towberman have recognized one another for years, bringing very completely different navy backgrounds to their roles. Towberman began within the Air Power as a cryptologic linguist and intelligence analyst flying on RC-135s, Bentivegna was skilled as a maintainer, earlier than spending most of his profession in area operations. 

That offers him a bonus Towberman didn’t have. “I’ve been within the area enterprise for the preponderance of my profession,” Bentivegna instructed reporters at AFA’s Air, Area & Cyber Convention just a few days earlier than taking up the CMSSF job. “In order I am going out and advise Gen. Saltzman and have an opportunity to have interaction with Guardians, one thing I need to attempt to leverage, which can be a bit of little bit of a distinct messaging level from Chief Towberman, is a few of the time I spent doing area operations as an Airman within the Air Power.   

“Chief Towberman had that broad [experience] working inside the Air Power,” mentioned Bentivegna, recognized to many as B9, in reference to the letters in his final title. “So what he’s laid out from a broader perspective and now me now coming in with my area understanding, I believe goes to place the service in the suitable place.” 

Chief Grasp Sergeant of the Area Power Roger Towberman and John F. Bentivegna on the Air & Area Forces Affiliation’s 2023 Air, Area & Cyber Convention on September 12, at Nationwide Harbor, Maryland. Picture by Mike Tsukamoto/Air & Area Forces Journal

Bentivegna mirrored on his early years in uniform, when he was a “little bit of a knucklehead,” and as a “late bloomer” who got here to acknowledge his potential to guide and work solely after time on the job—a descriptor Towberman has used for himself. B9 credited his spouse and a number of other skilled mentors for serving to him develop and mature, and pledged to work on behalf of Guardians to see they get the coaching and abilities wanted to succeed. 

“The area area has advanced from a benign surroundings,” Bentivegna mentioned. “The intentions of a number of state actors stay unclear, and the undesirable risk of nice energy battle is actual. To efficiently compete on this area, we demand your willingness to study and suppose outdoors the field, make uncomfortable choices, and exhibit a bias for motion. We’d like you to be comfy with the unknown and domesticate a service the place change will not be a distraction or an obstacle.” 

On the AFA convention, Bentivegna mentioned he’d spend his first 90 days listening to Guardians and Airmen at instructions worldwide, paying attention to what he learns and utilizing that to form an agenda for the time that follows. 

“I’ve a possibility to assemble with the senior enlisted leaders within the Area Power and the Airmen who’re assigned to the Area Power this week, and I’m going to pay attention,” Bentivegna mentioned. “‘Hey, what’s happening within the subject? The packages and coverage we’re working in direction of, what are those that we’ve bought to get it throughout the end line and must advocacy inside the constructing? What are those that we have to proceed to have a look at?’”