ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE -- Behind many great commanders there stands a great enlisted aide who works tirelessly to ensure he or she can focus on the big picture while not being overrun with the small details of daily life.
For the commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, that person is Master Sgt. Jeffery Gombos, who recently impressed judges at the Air Force Materiel Command competition level and was named AFMC Enlisted Aide of the Year in the senior enlisted aide category.
While his awards package is chock full of accomplishments like "flawlessly managing the commander's living quarters and uniforms" and "executing a maintenance budget of $35,000 during a financially constrained time," the sergeant said the job took some getting used to.
"When I took the leap from crew chef on KC-135s to enlisted aide, I found out there was only one on Robins," he said. "I had no turn over, no one to show me the ropes. The general (Maj. Gen. Donald Wetekam, former WR-ALC commander) gave me a brief summary of things to do and that was about it."
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With on-the-job-training as his only option, Sergeant Gombos jumped in head first and attributes his success to what he learned from others.
"It wasn't long after I started this job before I PCSd to Washington D.C. with the general I was working for at the time," he said. "While stationed at Bolling Air Force Base I was greeted by numerous EAs from chief to staff sergeant. They all had advice to give."
He said during the two years at Bolling, he learned a lot from other enlisted aides. "It was such a great opportunity to be able to spend time with them and learn from their years of experience. If I didn't go to Bolling things may have been different," he said.
Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer, WR-ALC commander, inherited the sergeant upon her recent arrival at Robins. She became the third general Sergeant Gombos has worked for since his debut in September 2003.
She said she couldn't have received better news prior to the senior staff fall festival last week of which the sergeant was an integral part and where she announced his win.
"The success of that event confirms why you received this award," she wrote in a personal congratulations note to the sergeant.
Sergeant Gombos said competition is stiff for this honor as there are not many in his career field.
An enlisted aide is assigned to specific general officers for the purpose of relieving them of tasks and details, which if performed by the officer would be at the expense of the general officer's primary military and official duties. The duties of an enlisted aide vary since they are tailored to the needs of each general officer.