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Major General Mary Kight discusses life, leadership and being an Airman

  • Published
  • By Airman First Class Ashley Ramirez
  • 146th Airlift Wing
Longtime friend to the 146th Airlift Wing, Major General Mary J. Kight, Special Assistant to the Adjutant General for California, dropped in during July's UTA to pay a visit. She held a special mentorship mini-seminar and spoke to members of the 146th Airlift Wing about her views on life, leadership and the Air Force on July 8, 2011.

General Kight spoke twice to separate audiences throughout the day and tailored each meeting to different and equally important topics to her.
Each address stressed the importance of service and mentorship;  however, her first talk focused on mentoring younger and junior enlisted members. The audience of mostly officers and senior enlisted listened attentively as Kight stressed the importance of reaching back and pulling people forward with you.

Kight explained that after joining the service in 1974, her plan was to only serve her four year enlistment then get out. But then something happened.
"Once I got in, I found out that there was service in my blood," she said. "The reason I am still here after 35 years is because I love to serve."

She then named several senior National Guard members who she remembers helping and mentoring her when she was new to the Air Force. Although it has been a long time since she entered the service, Kight said she will never forget the people guided her along during her Air Force journey. And that is what what we as senior members should strive to be for our young Airmen, she said. 

During her second address after lunch, General Kight took the opportunity to meet with the female Airmen from the 146th and discuss their roles in the Air Force. She spoke about empowerment, confidence and believing in yourself.

Kight made a point to say that as Airmen we need to understand and realize our capabilities as individuals and the impact that that has.
"Although we are members of the 'force' as a whole," she said. "It is our individual capabilities combined that create the power of that force."

Kight wanted the female Airmen to remember why they joined and to use that passion to go forward. She said that what we do is serve; we serve our country, service our community and serve each other. Remember that there is leadership at every level and it is your responsibility to take advantage of those opportunities where you can prove what you're made of. Seek knowledge from the senior enlisted, Kight said, and learn from them. Never hold yourself back because that will prevent you from reaching your full potential, she said.

Once General Kight had concluded her address, she opened the floor for questions from her audience. Members asked her anything from what she does to de-stress when things become overwhelming to the usage of furlough days for full-time members. Members thanked her for her service and asked for advice on how to further their careers.

When asked what General Kight wanted her legacy to be in the Air Force, she replied "The mission always got that's too general. I will be remembered by the Airmen that I helped bring up, and they will carry my legacy on," she said. "They will carry the Guard forward."

"Our people coming up through the ranks are tomorrow's leaders and remain my focus. They are our greatest assets and essential to meeting current and future challenges. We owe them our unwavering commitment, encouragement, and support as they take the Guard in new and exciting directions."