Dave Bledsoe

posted Jun 23, 2013, 10:38 AM by Rick Perales

I served in the US Air Force, in 88th CEG, with Rick Perales; at that time I knew him as Major Perales, or often just “sir.” He was part of a command staff that I’ve used time and again as an example of exactly what good leadership looks like.

A commanding officer is responsible for the activities of his entire squadron, for the objectives of the mission, and for proper leadership. Rick Perales brought more than capability to the job, but compassion as well.

I could recite his official accomplishments, but that doesn’t tell you who Rick is. I remember a mobility exercise at Wright Patterson AFB, a 4 day rehearsal in which we worked hard 16 hour days. We’d done well, and we were some hot and sweaty airmen. The officers made a few calls, knowing they had a perfect way to reward those of us who’d just simulated building a full airfield out of a cratered strip of dirt.

They sent us over to the Officer’s Club on base to use the showers in shifts. Not only did Major Perales make sure we all got a nice shower instead of field washing, but he gave a young airman who’d skimped on checklist items a towel out of his own gear. There was no dressing down, no punishment for being unprepared, just a lifting of one eyebrow that seemed to say “You’re never going to short your gear again, right?” As you may have guessed, I learned the lesson.

Dressing down, throwing weight around, wasn’t his way. It’s his way to lead from the front, with integrity and honor.

He would roll his sleeves and grab a shovel with us. He made sure he understood every one of the jobs in the squadron. He didn’t assume he knew, he asked questions. He didn’t just care about the mission, he cared about those of us on his team, even those at the bottom of the chain of command.

I knew Rick Perales as a great commanding officer; I look forward to knowing him as a great State Representative.

Dave Bledsoe
Served with Rick in Air Force