Feature Search

New command chief 'Keeps it R.E.A.L.'

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Anthony Jennings
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
'Be R.E.A.L.' and 'Keep it R.E.A.L.' are phrases which could have several meanings to different people. But to the new 36th Wing Command Chief, it is a mindset every Airman can apply to their mission and everyday life.

Chief Master Sgt. Margarita Overton uses the acronym R.E.A.L., to convey her philosophy of being a Responsible, Energized, Airman Leader. She hopes this philosophy will spread throughout Team Andersen as she takes the reigns as the highest ranking enlisted member on base.

"I'm excited to be here," Chief Overton said. "We have a great team, and I'm proud and truly honored to serve as your Command Chief."

As the Command Chief, she is the principal advisor to the Wing Commander on matters affecting the utilization, health, morale and welfare of more than 8,500 military and civilian personnel. Additionally, she advises the Commander for Airmen deployed to Anderson for Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence and Theater Security Package.

Her responsibilities include keeping all commanders within the 36th Wing apprised of matters affecting their personnel, and acting as a liaison between headquarters staff agencies, commanders, tenant units, and senior leaders on operational and administration matters and implementing policy.

Hailing from Athens, Greece, Chief Overton entered service in January 1987. She completed her technical training as a ground radio specialist at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. In 1996, as a staff sergeant, she became an Airman Leadership School instructor. It was there where she realized she had a passion for teaching.

"I was inspired to become an instructor because of the teachers I had in ALS," Chief Overton said. "It was kind of weird that I would want to pursue it because I was very shy and introverted at the time. I knew I liked to help people, I like to motivate people to achieve a common goal, and though at the time I didn't know it, I discovered I had a passion for teaching. I would have never discovered all of that had I not applied for the position."

"Some might not take on a challenge because they're afraid of failing, or being turned down," she continued. "But if you really want to do something, don't sell yourself short. Go for it because the worst thing that can happen is you're told no. The best that can happen is you're told yes. So I went for it and I got the job."

It was as an ALS instructor, teaching Airmen how to become leaders, where she found many of the qualities supervisors look for.

"Many people might be afraid of stepping up to be a leader because they think you have to be a born leader to lead," Chief Overton said. "But you don't, I had to learn it. I'm still learning to this very day because you never really stop learning. Each day brings a new lesson."

The lessons she learned have had a profound impact on her 24-year career. After five years of instructing ALS, Chief Overton cross-trained into manpower, where she learned the program requirements and processes of how the various career fields fit in the big picture of the Air Force.

"I've worked manpower for a gambit of organizations such as security forces, maintenance , and the medical," Chief Overton said. "I think my manpower background has helped me better relate and talk to people across the board. I've learned a lot about how everyone contributes to the Air Force mission, and I appreciate what everyone brings to the fight, regardless of their Air Force Specialty Code."

From manpower, Chief Overton went on to become the 78th Force Support Squadron superintendent, then the 78th Mission Support Group superintendent two years later at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., before receiving the assignment here as the Command Chief for the 36th Wing.

Each new position Chief Overton held grew in scale and presented new challenges, however, those challenges helped to mold her into the leader she has become today.

"A good command chief and friend of mine often says, if you're comfortable, you're not growing," Chief Overton said. "Which I've learned is very true. If you stay in your niche, if you don't ever face new challenges and have to figure out different ways to solve problems to overcome those challenges, you'll never grow as an individual."

As the Command Chief on Andersen, Chief Overton hopes to 'keep it R.E.A.L.' while communicating the Wing Commander's vision and encouraging those under her leadership to 'be R.E.A.L.'