JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
To many, the Air Force is a family business; this is true for the Sills family, with father and son serving together at the Air Force Personnel Center here.
Tech. Sgt. Jesse Sills Jr., NCO in charge of first sergeant assignments, decided to join the Air Force after seeing the benefits it gave his family during his father’s time in service.
“I knew it would help me get where I needed to be as far as getting my education and taking care of my family,” Sills Jr. said. “I saw the lifestyle my dad provided for us, so I knew it was going to be a good career move for me.”
Jesse Sills Sr., a human resources specialist, retired from the Air Force after 23 years of service as a medical administrator. Now, he passes the knowledge he gained from his career to his son during their weekly lunches.
“We have lunch every Wednesday and Friday,” said Sills Jr. “I never supervised until I arrived at JBSA-Randolph. To learn from my father and grow from his experiences as a manager… it has helped me out a lot to say the least.”
Of all the advice the younger Sills has received, he appreciates his father’s perspective on how to be a good mentor.
“My father had numerous Airmen work under him,” Sills Jr. said. “He knows how to get people on the right path and keep them there.”
The elder Sills said his leadership style has stayed the same whether he is leading Airmen or parenting.
“Being a mentor is the best way to manage people – understand they work with you, not for you,” Sills Sr. said. “I have the same mentality at home with my kids.”
As the younger Sills takes care of his own family, he has a new appreciation for the lessons his father taught him.
“I try to use many of the same tools he gave me for my children,” Sills Jr. said. “Everything he taught me is working; now that I am a husband and a father I can see that.”
The elder Sills never thought his son would join the Air Force. He expected to watch his son play college football, but Jesse Jr. made other plans.
“I decided to go to school to try to find myself,” Sills Jr. said. “That is when I started thinking about joining the Air Force.”
After seeing his son decide to join the military on his own and how it has impacted his son’s life for the better, Jesse Sr. said he would recommend that parents bring up the option with their children despite any negative perceptions or aversion to military service they might personally harbor.
“Do not consider potential negative misperceptions you might have about the armed forces and just ask them to consider the possibilities of joining the military,” Sills Sr. said. “Not only does it afford you a rare and selfless way to serve your country, military careers provide vast opportunities for personal and professional career growth.”