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Retiring Command Chief looked for good in people and situations

Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, 75th Air Base Wing command chief, poses in front of the 75th ABW command building May 18, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Walker retires from the Air Force May 27 after 29 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, 75th Air Base Wing command chief, poses in front of the 75th ABW command building May 18, 2021, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Walker retires from the Air Force May 28 after 29 years of service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Cynthia Griggs)

Hill’s retiring 75th Air Base Wing Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, goes back to his roots as a security Forces defender May 25 and works a shift at Hill’s South Gate. Walker became the wing’s command chief in 2018, where he looks for the best in people and passes along a positive influence. Walker’s nearly 30-year career culminates with a retirement ceremony at Hill May 28. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Hill’s retiring 75th Air Base Wing Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, goes back to his roots as a security Forces defender May 25 and works a shift at Hill’s South Gate. Walker became the wing’s command chief in 2018, where he looks for the best in people and passes along a positive influence. Walker’s nearly 30-year career culminates with a retirement ceremony at Hill May 28. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, Hill’s 75th Air Base Wing command chief, put on the uniform and aspired to look for the best in people while ultimately being kind during his nearly 30-year career.

As a young security forces defender, Walker said he had a few struggles, but his supervisors gave him guidance and opportunities for success so he emulated that leadership style.

“Most often, people don’t intend to do wrong,” he said. “If you give them a little grace, be kind and give people the benefit of the doubt, you’d be amazed at what they can do. That’s the way I tried to lead throughout my career.”

Walker has always tried to help others, so the command chief position was a natural fit where he passed along his positive attitude and years of experience.

“As I talk with Airmen, I let them know that perspective shapes how their day goes,” he said. “If you come in with a bad attitude or think the day’s going to be bad, it probably will be. Your perspective really shapes where you go and shapes your happiness when you get there.”

Walker also stressed the importance of Airmen protecting their character.

“Character matters,” he said. “When you step out of character, you lose the trust of those around you and you never fully get it back. You can rebuild it over time, but it will never be back to where it once was and you’re not going to be as valued by the team.”

Walker said to get the most out of serving in the Air Force, always jump at the chance to experience something different or learn something new.

“My advice is to take a chance and never pass up an opportunity,” he said. “Get outside your comfort zone when opportunities come your way. That’s the great thing about the Air Force. The only person who limits how far you go is the person staring back at you in the mirror.”

Watching the Air Force evolve and make positive changes because of suggestions from Airmen is something that makes the chief’s wide smile grow wider.

“It makes me the happiest when our leadership across the Air Force is willing to listen to Airmen and make a change,” he said. “Our young people see the world differently than we ever did and their changes makes us a better force. I love it because our Airmen feel valued when they make an impact.”

Walker said strengthening relationships within the community and seeing the Airman Recreation Center come online are two accomplishments that makes him feel like he made an impact during his time as the command chief, but he mostly enjoyed talking with and being with the Airmen.

“We have some amazing Airmen and I really enjoy talking to them and hearing their stories,” he said. “They’re from all walks of life. I like hearing where they came from and what they accomplished before they got here and what they’re accomplishing now. I absolutely love that.”

As his Air Force career wraps up, Walker said he’ll forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve at Hill because he loved the amazing people he worked with, and he and his family have found Utah to be a welcoming place where they will stay.

“I knew, probably a couple months after we got here, that this is it,” he said. “We built a house and became part of community. We just love it here and are super excited to continue to be Utahans.”