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CMSAF discusses force priorities, continued support for families, wounded warriors

7/13/2009 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) - -- The Air Force's top enlisted leader toured several military bases in the San Antonio area recently to meet with Airmen and discuss Air Force priorities.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy said some primary focus areas for the enlisted force include reinforcing professional military education, integrating better with joint and coalition partners and supporting military families and wounded warriors. He assumed his new position during an appointment ceremony June 30 at Bolling Air Force Base, D.C.

One of the main issues Chief Roy said he will focus on during his tenure is developing Airmen.

"We need to continue to work on enlisted force development," Chief Roy said. "We do a great job of professional military education and technical training. We have the best Air Force and military in the world, not just because of our equipment, but because of our people. Having been around other militaries, including foreign militaries, they have a lot of good equipment too. What they don't have to the extent we have is Airmanship, and that's very important. We need to continue to instill Airmanship in our Airmen and continue to refine ourselves."

The chief said developing Airmen also includes reinforcing basic standards Airmen are taught when they initially join the service.

"We need to maintain the basics: adherence to standards," Chief Roy said. "I visited basic training this week and met with trainees learning to become Airmen. The one thing that's instilled upon Airmen, just as it was when I went through almost 27 years ago, is standards and adherence of standards.

"When you take a young Airman who's been through basic training, send him through technical school, get him to his first unit and his first supervisor starts giving the Airman on-the-job training, the Airman may be given a technical order," the chief said. "That Airman knows he or she has to follow the technical order. The Airman has to follow that T.O. to the word because that's what our business is about. We follow regulations and instructions."

Another one of the chief's priorities is providing a comprehensive support system for military families.

"I have a very young family, very young children, but I make sure they understand what Dad's doing," he said. "Why is Dad gone all the time? I think people need to communicate well with their family members. That's part of taking care of them. So taking care of families is something we need to continue to strive to do."

Another key issue for Chief Roy is providing full support for wounded warriors.

"As an Air Force, we have a lot of Airmen on the battlefield, so we have a lot of wounded warriors. We also have a lot of joint wounded warriors, and we need to continue to take care of them regardless of what uniform they wear or where they came from," Chief Roy said. "The fact that they are Americans and they did the mission of what our nation has called them to do is something we need to stand by. We owe that to them and in the same sense we owe that to their families."

Chief Roy also discussed integrating and collaborating with our joint partners.

"One area I think we need to continue to focus on is joint professional military education," he said. "When we look at the global scope of what we do, we need to also consider coalition forces and how our nation is working with those partner nations. I believe we should be looking at how we not just receive partner nations into our schools, but also about taking some of our Airmen and opening the doors up to allow them to train with some of our coalition partners. We do some technical training right now with our partner countries, but I'd also like to look at doing this for professional military education as well."

Chief Roy said he will advocate creating a different mindset that puts more focus on the Air Force's joint responsibilities. This includes how Airmen are developed to have joint and coalition vision to successfully perform the Air Force's global mission.

"People should understand their new chief master sergeant may be looking at some of this area from a different prism," he said. "Coming from a joint combatant command, we were in the process of receiving forces to employ them. So for me, I understand what we do as an Air Force as a force provider to the combatant commands. I look at it from that angle. What is the Secretary of Defense and Department of Defense asking us to do? I like the phrase that our current chief of staff has coined and that's 'All In.' We are all in, and it's not just all in for the Air Force, but it's all in for the Department of Defense. That's why we are here. If our sister services need our help, we're there. That's the essence of jointness and we understand that."

While Chief Roy didn't aspire to become the 16th chief master sergeant of the Air Force, he did share some information that may help Airmen have the right mindset to successfully progress through their Air Force careers.

"It's simple. Listen to your supervisor; be the best Airmen you can be; and don't worry about your progression through the ranks," Chief Roy said. "I have had some great supervisors that took care of me. I had supervisors that I learned from. I can remember my first supervisor, retired Tech. Sgt. Nathan Heard. He made an indelible impression on me. I was a young airman basic and he said, 'I'm going to get you through these CDCs.' It wasn't just my CDCs, it was our CDCs. This made an huge impression upon me, instilling a drive and focus for everything Air Force."

The chief's further advice for success?

"You take care of those that you are responsible for and for other Airmen around you," he said. "I never strove to be a chief master sergeant. I strove to be the best Airman I could be and I still do."