Malmstrom’s new command chief
By Airman 1st Class Jacob M. Thompson, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 13, 2020
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- The 341st Missile Wing welcomed a new command chief in November 2019.
Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Harper, 341st MW command chief, joined Malmstrom after having served across several different bases and major commands in his 26 years of military service.
As the command chief, Harper serves as the primary advisor to the commander on matters concerning the readiness, training, morale, health, welfare, effective utilization and discipline for nearly 4,000 military members who support the nation’s nuclear surety objectives by operating, maintaining and securing Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Previously, Harper served as the mission support group superintendent at Laughlin AFB, Texas.
“My wife, Tammy, and I are extremely excited to join Team Malmstrom, and we look forward to getting out and enjoying all that Montana has to offer,” said Harper.
Native to Vardaman, Miss., Harper originally had intentions to play college basketball, but when he lost his basketball scholarship, he turned his focus toward joining the Air Force.
“I joined for the educational benefits, as well as the number of opportunities that were made available to me that I would not have had coming from a very small town, but one of the biggest reasons that I stayed was that I loved being a part of the Air Force family,” Harper said.
“There is nothing like our Air Force family,” he continued. “We’re so disconnected from our immediate families and to be able to relocate from base-to-base and have that feeling of family, you would be hard pressed to find that in any other profession.”
Harper enlisted as a computer operations specialist but has served in several different jobs prior to becoming a command chief, from being a first sergeant to serving as a squadron and group superintendent.
“My favorite job since being in the Air Force is being a first sergeant,” said Harper. “You are put in a job where you can devote your time to taking care of Airmen and their families.”
Harper intended to serve his first enlistment and then separate from the military, but the connections he made and the help he received along the way inspired him to stay in.
“I never thought I would be where I am today, and I definitely did not get here by myself,” said Harper. “I had some great mentors and supervisors who helped me along the way.”
Harper’s message to Malmstrom Airmen is to have respect for others, respect for yourself and respect for the mission.
“Something that I learned as a young Airman that still rings true today, and it revolves around the word respect,” stated Harper. “Respect for yourself, take care of yourself. It’s okay to not be okay. I’ve found myself in instances where I needed help and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“Also, have respect for each other; do your part to make sure everyone feels connected and respected,” he continued. “Look out for each other. If one of our brothers or sisters needs help, let’s get them the help that they need.
“And finally, respect for the mission,” said Harper. “Continue getting after the mission, but always remember safety is paramount.”
One of Harper’s initial directives is to create a more direct interaction with the Airmen on the installation through two new initiatives: a Facebook and Instagram account, as well as bi-weekly visits to work with Airmen called “Put Chief to Work”.
“I’m looking forward to getting out and getting to know the Wing One Warriors and their daily mission first-hand,” said Harper. “I’m going to be instituting a new program where I go out and work with Airmen in their workspaces. I am hoping to get a better understanding of what our Airmen do on a day-to-day basis so that I can get a feel for how I can better help them accomplish the mission.”
Harper will also be active on social media to better connect with and hear from Malmstrom Airmen. Follow Chief Harper on Facebook and Instagram @MalmstromCommandChief.