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Wing first sergeant confesses: 'you will get there'

Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Hamlett, first seargent assigned to the 139th Airlif Wing, discusses the key factors in leadership with an airman at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base on Nov. 17, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bruce Jenkins)

Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Hamlett, first seargent assigned to the 139th Airlif Wing, discusses the key factors in leadership with an airman at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base on Nov. 17, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bruce Jenkins)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The 139th Airlift Wing's First Sergeant recently admitted here at Rosecrans that he is a devoted motivator, a communicator and a life fanatic.

Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Hamlett is also a published author, a business owner, a business professor, has a doctorate degree, and is a husband and father.

"Ten years ago no one could have ever told me I'd be all these things," Hamlett said.

Hamlett enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1981, still in high school. He said that at 17 he did not understand what he embarked on. The thought of making extra money and having school opportunities were ideas that caught his attention.

"I wasn't all-in at the time, but I don't regret that decision," Hamlett said. "The Marines taught me how to see my true potential."

Hamlett said that he sought out another career after realizing a Marine Corps water purifier would not pay in civilian life.

He joined the regular Air Force as a jet engine mechanic, then reassigned to the California Air National Guard, and then reassigned to Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.

"The biggest thing I gained from this unit is the willingness to help people," Hamlett said. "The family environment is something that the Guard offers."

Hamlett came to the end of his rope 10 years ago.  He reached his 20 years' service and a full retirement opportunity.  He said that he wanted to offer more service.

"I was reminded every day that I am just like everybody else, until one day, I thought to myself, 'I know I can be better'," Hamlett said.

'Hamlett earned his Community College of the Air Force degree and continued to further his education.

"After I got my first taste of success, I didn't want to stop," Hamlett said. "I am not putting a cap on life."

Hamlett said that he reaches out to Airmen in his walks around the base to encourage them to follow their dreams, because he knows they can.

"In high school, my GPA was a 2.2 or 2.3," Hamlett said. "If I can make it this far, anyone can."

"You have to know where you're going in your career, if not, it's like getting in a car and going east without a destination," said Hamlett. "There may be some rough detours along the way, but you will get there."