JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Just over 26 years ago, an 18-year-old from Berlin, Massachusetts, experienced equal parts of shock and awe when he first stepped onto Lackland to begin his Air Force journey. Now the command chief for the 37th Training Wing, Chief Master Sgt. Michael Morgan is well over his shock, but the awe is still there.
“It’s very interesting to walk back along these buildings in a completely different kind of capacity,” Morgan said. “I’ve heard it called hallowed ground and it really is for the enlisted force.”
Morgan, who graduated from the 322nd Training Squadron in December 1994, said BMT was a mixture of good and bad memories, but one thing was for sure: He remembered his military training instructor, Senior Airman Devon Hoffman.
“He definitely made an impression on me,” Morgan remembered. While it was rare for Senior Airmen to be MTIs, the chief said he didn’t realize that then, and it certainly didn’t matter. “To me, he was a demigod walking among men. Might as well have been Zeus.”
The 37th TRW is Morgan’s second command chief position. Before coming to JBSA-Lackland, he served as the command chief at the 42nd Air Base Wing at Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex, Alabama. His experience there reinforced something he already knew about the Air Force.
“This is a team business and it takes many hands to lift the machine and keep it moving forward. Everyone has a role to play,” he said.
Morgan said he was “beyond humbled” to be in his role at the 37th TRW among the Warhawks.
“[It’s because of] the amazing job that our teammates do at the 737th Training Group and the 37th TRG in taking citizens and turning them into Airmen. And our missions at DLIELC and IAAFA are crucial to our international partnerships. I am literally in awe of what this team is accomplishing every day,” the chief said.
“I want to make sure I’m doing the best I can for the team. These top-of-the line NCOs from across the Air Force, from across multiple functional areas, who are … building Airmen from the ground up, taking a … a citizen, and turning them into an Airman – I hope that I serve them well,” he added.
“The first time I met Chief Morgan he was serving as a Command Chief Mentor in the Wing Commanders Course of which I was a student. I was impressed from the very first moment I heard him speak and could tell that he was a gifted leader,” said Col. Rockie K. Wilson, 37th TRW commander. “We are blessed to have him as our Command Chief. He has a deep respect and understanding of our mission, and his focus on serving the enlisted members of our wing comes through in everything he does.”
The chief’s bio is evidence of his stance on the importance of self-improvement: the list of accomplishments under the education section number nearly 20, and include a wide variety of professional military education courses. He graduated summa cum laude from Norwich University in Vermont with a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis in 2017. He’s currently enrolled at Troy University for a Master of Science in Management and Leadership Development.
“I’ve found my passion in helping people achieve their own goals, so that’s what I’m focused on right now,” Morgan said.
When he’s away from work, the chief likes to relax and unwind with his family or by riding his trail bike, while listening to audio-books.
"I definitely enjoy reading and listening to books. I’m a sci-fi guy. I’m a geek and a nerd. Or playing video games with my son. [He wins] all the time. It’s not a great challenge for him,” he said, laughing.
With just over a month on the job, Morgan said he’s “still kind of dumbstruck” about being here.
“I never imagined that I would be nominated, let alone selected. To be in this position in this wing is an honor,” he said. When he received the call with the good news about his new position, Morgan said he immediately texted his wife: “I guess we need to get a cat.” He had promised his kids they’d get a cat if they moved again.
He added that his predecessor, Chief Master Sgt. Stefan Blazier, gave him some advice that will stick with him: “Just be you. Don’t walk a mile in my shoes. Walk in your own shoes.”
“Chief Blaze is just phenomenal,” he said. “He’s very well-known and respected across the Air Force, especially in chiefs’ circles.”
For now, Morgan wants to focus on force development.
“What do people need as far as development? How can I help them achieve their goals both personally and professionally? So definitely force development is going to be a big thing, but also I want to take care of people,” he said. “When you take care of people everything else just happens.”