Chief Master Sergeant Jeremy Carlson is the new superintendent of education for the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Civil Engineer School and also serves as the chief enlisted manager for AFIT.
Carlson is the course director for three courses in the Civil Engineer School and manages a $700K annual budget to prepare senior noncommissioned officers, civilian wage grade supervisors, and deputy fire chiefs for advanced leadership responsibilities. In addition, he teaches enlisted personnel management lessons as part of the Base Civil Engineer, Operations Flight Commander, and Civil Engineer Basic Officer courses.
Teaching full-time was not on Carlson’s career radar, but now he is looking forward to the opportunity to share his experiences with the next generation of civil engineers. He will be teaching some of the same courses he took as a student at AFIT. One of those courses is the CE superintendent course, which Carlson said was the best formal training the Air Force had ever provided to him. “We bring in a lot of the top leaders in the CE field, to include the Air Force civil engineer and the chief of enlisted matters,” said Carlson. “It is an opportunity to hear what is going on at the top levels and talk to them about decisions and why we are going one way versus another.”
Carlson’s goal as the lone Chief at AFIT is to establish relationships with all of AFIT’s enlisted members. Actively listening to people, being empathic, and building trust are skills that he has developed throughout his leadership positions. “A lot of times people come to you with personal issues that they are dealing with in their lives. To me, that is the biggest challenge, but also the most rewarding part, of being in a leadership position,” said Carlson. “I have learned to be understanding and not always be the ‘drop the hammer’ so to speak type of person all the time.”
Carlson entered the Air Force in January 1996 as an electrical systems apprentice and spent his first 8 years in the electrical career field before being retrained as an F-16 avionics systems apprentice in 2004. He spent three years working on the flight line before returning to the civil engineer electrical career field in 2008. He has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn.
Born and raised in West Burlington, Iowa, Carlson joined the Air Force to follow his older sister who had joined after high school. “I didn’t really have a vision or any goals, and I knew college wasn’t for me,” said Carlson. He didn’t plan on making the military his career, and definitely didn’t plan on making Chief, but he credits some of his motivation to excel to his sister who passed away in an accident early in her Air Force career. “She was very motivated, a very good Airman, and always had visions of being a Chief. She would talk about that when she was a senior Airmen. Over the years, it became internal for me, thinking about her and wanting to make her proud.”
Married with two children, Carlson enjoys golf and running. He also likes to travel with his family, an activity they were able to indulge in over last 8 years with assignments in England and Germany.
Carlson has two Associate in Applied Science degrees, one in avionic systems technology and the other in mechanical and electrical technology. He graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from the American Military University in business administration.