Chief Thomas brings fresh experience to Keesler

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Stephan Coleman
  • 81st Training Wing
Arriving at a new base with a new job title can bring a slew of opportunity and reprioritization, especially for high-ranking personnel.

Chief Master Sgt. Farrell Thomas, the new 81st Training Wing command chief, comes to Keesler from Washington, D.C, where he was the special assistant to the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. He arrived at Keesler earlier this month.

"My goal is to ensure we execute the commander's vision and priorities, with a focus on the mission and people," said Thomas. "Taking care of Airmen and their families is very important to me, as well as balancing the needs of the mission with the needs of the people."

Thomas said he has learned a great deal in his 23 years of service from many great supervisors. He attributes all his major successes to his wife, Senior Master Sgt. Lisa Thomas, their two children, and to the subordinates who have worked for him over the years.

He stated that learning never really stops, and that personnel can learn from others of any rank.

"I want to give everyone the tools they need to develop themselves," he said. "Then we can train the students and continue to push out highly-trained warfighters into the rest of the Air Force."

Supporting the families and youth of the Air Force are his biggest passions in his first position as a command chief.

"It's exciting to me that we still have young men and women volunteering to serve our country, our great nation, every day," said Thomas.

The close interaction with technical training Airmen at Keesler is the opposite side of the spectrum from his work with Air Force leaders in Washington, and he wants to help bridge that gap between beginners and the experienced.

"My experience at the Pentagon, meeting with senior Air Force and Department of Defense leaders, has made me understand the thought processes behind certain decisions," said Thomas. "Hopefully, I'll be able to relay that to the people of Keesler."

"Getting to walk the halls of the Pentagon was a very humbling experience," he added. "Every now and then you would walk down a hall and stop to look at a piece of history displayed in a case. It made you think about the great leaders of our nation and how they walked the same hallways."

Born in a small town in Louisiana, Thomas feels at home in the Biloxi area.

"Keesler has that small-town feel, and still has everything you need," he said. "The members of Keesler have been nothing but professional, outstanding and supportive. I'm excited to be a part of the team and the community."