CMSgt Matthew Lusson, USAF, retired, has a love for taking care of others. As a Command Chief Master Sergeant at several military bases from 2013-2017, he was responsible for the readiness and well-being of thousands of military and civilian personnel. Even before that, he served in a variety of positions—such as Group Superintendent and Senior Enlisted Leader—in which he provided leadership, mentorship, and guidance to squadrons, managed assets worth billions of dollars, advocated for appropriate staffing levels, and supervised training.
Surprisingly, CMSgt Lusson did not start out his career intending to be a trainer and protector. He joined the Air Force because he happened to visit a recruiter with a friend and was swept up by the idea of possibly working in space operations, possibly even with NASA and the space shuttle program.. He actually became a Ground Systems Operator/Evaluator, working with the Global Positioning System satellites, overseeing software implementation, and testing and training others. Even at that point his superiors recognized his skills in leadership and teaching, and his next few positions revolved around instruction and evaluation.
Along his Air Force career path, he excelled in every area, winning eleven different annual awards. He also garnered the honor of the “John L. Levitow” Leadership Award at Airman Leadership School as well as “Distinguished Graduate” from the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy and the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, and fifteen different medals and ribbons, oftentimes multiples of each. Throughout it all, he kept his focus on doing his best and helping others to do the same.
“At one point the light bulb came on, and I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life taking care of airmen,” CMSgt Lusson says. “There were times when my supervisors recognized me for something I had done, like they were proud parents, and I wanted to do that for other airmen.”
It was at that point he also realized that if he was going to stay enlisted, then the way to have the biggest impact, for his airmen, was to be a Chief Master Sergeant. He earned the rank in near-record time, when he had been in the service only 18 years, and officially “put on” the rank at 19 years. Towards the end of his active duty career, working as a Command Chief Master Sergeant, he finally had found what he considered to be the best job in the Air Force. “I was honored to be able to serve the airmen, take care of them, foster their needs and wants,” he says. “It’s more important to take care of them than myself.”
Being a Command Chief in the Air Force is a tremendous honor--and an even bigger responsibility. After nearly five years, Chief Lusson began to feel that his family was taking too much of a backseat to his career, and he decided it was time to retire. “I love the Air Force,” he says candidly. “I love my family more.” He went about searching for a career that would be fulfilling, and it didn’t take long for him to decide on being an Air Force Junior ROTC instructor. “I just love being in a classroom environment, and I look forward to having the chance to mold young people, whether leading in military or leading in life. Just being part of their development at such a crucial point in their lives attracted me.”
Part of the reason Chief Lusson has had so much success in the classroom is his philosophy. “At the end of the day it’s about having fun,” he says with a smile. “It doesn’t mean you can’t be structured, it doesn’t mean you can’t be serious about what you’re learning, but for me to find ways to have fun and them to embrace it. This should not be death by PowerPoint. It’s about camaraderie and having fun together, while at the same time making sure we’re concentrating on what we’re trying to learn.”
When not in the classroom or in uniform, CMSgt Lusson can be found outdoors just enjoying nature, hiking, or canoeing. He is also a big sports fan, with basketball as his favorite. “You might see the old chief out there at the faculty and staff versus student basketball game,” he jokes.
Chief Lusson and his wife Tiffani have enjoyed more than 22 years of marital bliss, even among the trials of being a military family. At the time of the writing of this biography (February 2018), their daughter is a freshman at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and their son is a junior in high school at Randolph-Macon Academy.
- B.S., Cum Laude, Professional Aeronautics, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
- A.S., Instructor of Technology and Military Science, Community College of the Air Force
- A.S., Space Systems Operations Technology, Community College of the Air Force
- Classes: Aerospace II
- R-MA Mentor