Denfeld News

Nov. 17, 2007
Duluth News Tribune

Hermantown woman to command 148th Fighter Wing
By Steve Kuchera

Chief Master Sgt. Jodi Stauber doesn’t dismiss what the 148th Fighter Wing’s 102 officers do. But to her, it’s the outfit’s 929 enlisted personnel who are its “heart and soul.”

Come Sunday, Stauber, 39, will begin caring for the Duluth-based 148th’s heart and soul like never before. Stauber, a 21-year veteran of the unit, will be elevated to the job of command chief — the highest ranking enlisted position on the base. She’ll be the first woman to hold the post at the 148th.

Chief Master Sgt. John Bucsko, who was the 148th’s command chief for nearly three years, said the job is both satisfying and vital.

“You are the senior enlisted adviser to the wing commander,” he said, explaining the job. “You provide feedback to the commander on enlisted issues.”

The command chief oversees all senior enlisted promotions, takes part in wing-wide planning, and is a liaison with the local community. He or she works directly with the wing’s commanding officer, advising him on the readiness, training, professional development, conduct, quality of life and morale of the enlisted force.

“It’s the command chief’s job to take the pulse of the enlisted force,” Stauber said. “It’s very important that the command chief is visible and out there with the troops.”

“I am looking forward to the challenge,” she said. “I’m going to do my best. I hope I can live up to the expectations.”

Stauber, a 1986 Denfeld graduate, decided to join the military in about ninth grade when the Air Force visited the school.

“I remember making the decision [to enlist]. It was my first adult decision,” she said.

Stauber considered active duty in the Air Force, but then thought about the 148th.

“It was a better fit for me,” she said. “I could stay in my hometown and be in the military.”

She is married to Duluth Police Sgt. Pete Stauber. The couple have four children and live in Hermantown.

Stauber will become command chief at a change of authority ceremony at 1 p.m. Sunday. She’ll also continue her current duties.

Stauber is going to do a fine job as command chief, said Bucsko, a 32-year veteran of the 148th who retired Oct. 22.

“She’s very well-qualified because of the personnel background she has,” he said.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Hall, who works with Stauber in the personnel office, said she’s a hard worker who has great organizational skills and pays attention to detail.

“She’s always on top of things,” he said. “I think she will be one of the best, if not the best, command chiefs we’ve had here at the 148th. She always takes care of her troops. I feel very blessed to have her as a chief.”

For her part, Stauber believes Bucsko will be a tough act to follow.

“Chief Bucsko is the epitome of service before self,” she said. “He is one of the kindest people you will ever meet.”

“Command chief isn’t a job you can do well for the wrong reasons,” Stauber said. “It has to be from the heart. You have to care for people.”

A wing’s commanding officer selects who will be the command chief. The 148th’s commander, Col. Mark Johnson, was out of town and could not be reached for comment. Stauber said she was extremely and humbly proud Johnson selected her.

“I’ve come to a place I never thought I would be,” she said.

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