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Air Force Brigadier General Catherine Dreyer Chilton, left, and Major General William "Dutch" Holland shared ideas about leadership with ECU ROTC cadets at ECU April 15. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

U.S. Air Force generals speak on leadership

April 22, 2013

By Steve Tuttle
ECU News Services

A commitment to service is the foundation of leadership, two alumni with distinguished military careers said April 15 while speaking to cadets in ECU’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp. (AFROTC).

Air Force Brigadier General Catherine Dreyer Chilton and Major General William "Dutch" Holland (retired) met with cadets in small groups and talked about leadership as a practical tool they used to advance their careers. Chilton and Holland both graduated from East Carolina while serving as cadets in the campus AFROTC unit, Detachment 600. Both also have received the East Carolina Alumni Association’s Outstanding Alumni Award.

Chancellor Steve Ballard attended the breakfast meeting and welcomed the generals back to campus.
Lt. Co. Serena Armstrong, left, and Dr. Glen Gilbert, center, speak with General Chilton.

Leadership is “about being genuine,” Holland said. “The foundation of leadership is concern for others around you and being committed to doing the right thing. Leaders also need to learn, and you can’t do that if you’re talking. So, to be a leader you have to listen more than you talk.”

He told cadets the Air Force is noted for developing leadership skills in its officers, and that Chilton is an excellent example of a leader. “I give the military lots of credit for civil change. We were always ahead of society on important issues, like desegregation, women in leadership and in combat, and now with gays.”

Chilton works at the Pentagon as the mobilization assistant to the military deputy of the assistant secretary for acquisition of the U.S. Air Force. She oversees research and development of weapons systems worth more than $40 billion. A 1981 graduate of ECU, she is married to Gen. Kevin Chilton, who has flown on three NASA space missions.

Holland retired recently after serving as commander of the 9th Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C. The 9th Air Force comprises six wings in the eastern United States and two direct reporting units with more than 350 aircraft, and 24,000 active-duty and civilian personnel. He now serves as executive coordinator of the Governor’s Military Base Task Force in that state.

Chilton and Holland were inducted into the ECU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi in a ceremony Sunday evening in Wright Auditorium.

Both said military service did the most to develop their leadership skills. Chilton said there are a growing number of career opportunities for women in the military. Military service is more than a way to see the world, it’s “the whole world in itself.”

Detachment 600, chartered in 1948, is one of the oldest AFROTC units in the nation. In addition to Chilton and Holland, the unit has produced many military leaders, including retired four-star Gen. Gary L. North, who was ECU’s graduation speaker in 2009. North graduated from ECU in 1976.

Holland said he met his wife, Norma Hughes Holland, in Detachment 600.

ECU’s AFROTC unit is a part of the College of Health and Human Performance.