NCO inspires Airmen to strive, regardless of skin color

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, laughs during a night-shift conversation with one of cowrkers, Feb. 26, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger. Isidor inspires Airmen to consistently put in a conscientious effort to seek opportunities to succeed in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, laughs during a night-shift conversation with one of his coworkers, Feb. 26, 2018, at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger. Isidor inspires Airmen to consistently put in a conscientious effort to seek opportunities to succeed in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, talks with Senior Airman Austen Gann, 822nd EBDS fire team member, during a night shift at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Isidor and Gann are deployed to Nigerien Air Base 201 from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, speaks to Airmen and members of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes, during a night shift at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Airmen and FAN members work together regularly as part of an effort to build partnerships and maintain security and stability in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, talks with Senior Airman Austen Gann, 822nd EBDS fire team member, during a night shift at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Isidor and Gann are deployed to Nigerien Air Base 201 from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, talks with Senior Airman Austen Gann, 822nd EBDS fire team member, during a night shift at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Isidor and Gann are deployed to Nigerien Air Base 201 from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, communicates with members of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes, during a night shift at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. The U.S. military is in Agadez at the request of the Government of Niger, and the U.S. remain committed to helping our African partners protect their borders with matters of national security, and with other efforts important to the citizens of Niger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, communicates with members of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes, during a night shift at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. The U.S. military is in Agadez at the request of the Government of Niger, and the U.S. remain committed to helping our African partners protect their borders with matters of national security, and with other efforts important to the citizens of Niger. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, briefs Airmen and members of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes, during a night shift at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Airmen and their host nation partners in Africa work closely in an effort to support mutual security goals and objectives in Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, briefs Airmen and members of the Forces Armées Nigeriennes, during a night shift at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Airmen and their host nation partners in Africa work closely in an effort to support mutual security goals and objectives in Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, stands on post at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Isidor routinely discusses the importance of diversity with his Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, stands on post at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Isidor routinely discusses the importance of diversity with his Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, stands on post at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Isidor is currently deployed to West Africa out of Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and is a five-year Air Force veteran. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, stands on post at Nigerien Air Base 201, in Agadez, Niger, Feb. 26, 2018. Isidor is currently deployed to West Africa out of Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and is a five-year Air Force veteran. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Wilson)

AGADEZ, Niger --

One deployed Airman from Nigerien Air Base 201 speaks out to Airmen about how he doesn’t use his skin color as a justification for not reaching his goals in the military. Instead, he uses a “hard knock life” mentality to mentor his Airmen, regardless of their skin color, gender, or social upbringing, to work hard for what they want in their careers.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Isidor, 822nd Expeditionary Base Defense Squadron fire team leader, routinely inspires his Airmen to push for excellence at all times to obtain the career progression they desire.

“My father never raised me to use my skin color as an excuse,” Isidor said. “He always taught me that was a weak argument.”

Isidor described how he looked back throughout multiple challenges in his career to a time early on that gave him hope for the future. He recalls the first time he stepped into his squadron building after technical school, surprised to see who greeted him.

“I stepped in and I remember being greeted by my chief, who was a black man. I sat there for a second, and I said to myself, ‘Okay, this is doable,’” Isidor said. “This is every bit of possible. If this man can do it, I can do it too.”

That memory gave him the drive to strive for goals throughout his career. It taught him that regardless of one’s background, opportunities or economic status, success can always be achieved through relentless effort.

“Prove to your supervisors and your leadership chain why you are deserving of the position you want,” Isidor said. “Show them the documentation. Show them the certificates. Show them the experience you have. Make the decision easy for them.”

Isidor found innovative ways to prove himself to leadership and peers throughout his career.

“When I first joined the military, I was extremely motivated,” Isidor said. “I wanted to be the best of everything – in all aspects of my job.”

Isidor routinely mentors his Airmen on their roles as security forces members. He also preaches to them about the importance of taking pride in their jobs and serving as Airmen.

“I could instantly see how his Airmen would react to his leadership because when he speaks, they listen intently,” said Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Wheeler, 409th Air Expeditionary Group command chief. “They looked up to him because he cared and wanted them to be the best Airman they could be.  He has high standards for himself and lets nothing dissuade him from his goals and he pushes his Airmen to do the same.”

As “developing exceptional leaders” is one of the Air Force’s key focus areas, Isidor emphasizes to his Airmen that there are different types leaders at all hierarchies of an organization that impact the mission, from first term Airmen to  four-star generals. In order to attain success from one rank to the next, Airmen must put forth consistent effort to achieving their dreams.

“No one is going to go out and do the job for you,” Isidor said. “It’s a hard knock lifestyle because if you work hard, your dreams and aspirations are attainable as long as they’re realistic. But if you’re not willing to put the time and the effort in to go out and seek opportunities, you’ll never go anywhere.”