SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – Senior Master Sgt. Gregory Krems, enlisted aide for Gen. William M. Fraser III, commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the Air Force Senior Enlisted Aide of the Year for 2012. In mid-November he competed at Department of Defense level against top enlisted aides from all services taking second place honors.
Krems, 39, was an instructor at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss, seven years ago, when he sought a new challenge, which eventually earned him the title.
“I was teaching financial management at the school house at Keesler Air Force Base and an enlisted aide assignment opened up at Maxwell Air Force Base,” Krems said. “Gen. (Stephen R.) Lorenz was confirmed as the Air University commander and he needed an enlisted aide. I had heard many great things about working for him.”
Krems got the job and along with it “New challenges and the level of responsibility associated with an enlisted aide,” he said. “And no two days are ever the same.”
When Lorenz retired, Krems went to work for Adm. James A. Winnefield Jr.
“He was the NORTHCOM commander and he quickly became the vice chairman,” Krems said. “He gave me the option to go with or take another job, and General Fraser was coming to Scott Air Force Base, so that was the best fit.”
Krems says that many people have the mistaken impression that enlisted aides are butlers, maids or servants for generals. In reality, he explains that 50 to 60 percent of the job is culinary but aides also are responsible for maintaining the residence and assuring the general’s uniforms are always properly maintained.
“The way I kind of explain it to people,” Krems said, “is that the executive officer takes care of the general at the office, we take care of the general at his quarters.
“The Air Force invests a lot of time, money, energy into training us,” Krems continued. “I’ve taken numerous classes at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. I’ve taken numerous household management courses. So the Air Force has invested in giving us the tools to do our jobs effectively.”
Krems duty hours are usually similar to most military member’s.
“Every week fluctuates, but on a normal week we’re there 8 to 5, for our typical work hours,” Krems said. “Myself and a junior aide work normal hours, but then of course, with dinner parties and events on weekends there are times when we are doing different hours.”
During those hours, Krems has had the opportunity to work with many top government officials and dignitaries including former Secretary of State Condleezza Rice last year. “I’ve served the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense,” Krems said, “pretty much everybody but the president.
“I just think it’s a unique opportunity to see behind-the-scenes-movements and-actions by general officers,” Krems added. “You have amazing leadership in the Department of Defense and you are able to see firsthand how they handle difficult issues.”
Krems seems to be as impressed by those he serves as they are with him.
In the nomination package for the Air Force award, Gen. Fraser wrote “No matter the task, Greg consistently delivers superior results. He possesses hard-wired, innate skills in the strategic planning, management and final execution of single and concurrent events. No matter the social setting he consistently produced ‘five-star’ cuisine and service to distinguished foreign, federal, state, local and military officials.”
“I was nervous about it my first year being an enlisted aide,” Krems said, “and seven years later I know that every job has pluses and minuses. Ultimately you want the good days to outnumber the tough days, and by far that’s been the case.
“Of course every day is not going to be a holiday,” Krems added, “(but) I sure love going to work every day and taking on the new challenges that the day brings.
Krems and his wife Denise have four children, Noah, 14, and triplets Alison, Seth and Ethan, 7.
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