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Vice Chief, CMSAF visit 386th AEW

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- The Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen W. Wilson and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright visited the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia, April 9, 2017.

They held an all call during their visit where they discussed the Air Force's priorities for improving Airmen’s lives, and then held a question and answer session at the end so they could hear firsthand some of the issues Airmen are currently facing.

Both leaders focused especially on building resiliency in Airmen throughout the Air Force.

“One of the things about being a senior leader is you get to see and celebrate the greatest of our Airmen,” said Wright. “But you also get to see the worst, and so if there is anything that keeps me up at night, it’s being concerned about tying it right back to one of my key focus areas: are we doing enough to build resiliency to make our Airmen strong, to put them in a position to be able to manage what we ask them to do?”

Wilson discussed the importance of taking care of service members’ families as well as the service member in order to build resiliency.

He introduced this idea by asking how many of those in attendance were currently serving their first deployment. Many hands went up. He then asked how many had served more than three deployments. Several more hands went up. Most surprisingly, he asked how many people had served ten deployments, and a few still had their hands up. This concerned Wilson as he recognized the toll deployments take on Airmen and their families.

“We need to do everything we can to help develop Airmen,” explained Wilson. “But we need to spend more time, in my view, talking about the family. Being deployed five or six times, six months at a time, that’s hard, I get it, so that’s why people insist on getting this part right.”

During the question and answer session, both Wilson and Wright addressed concerns ranging from the lack of certain services in forward-deployed locations to future possibilities for enlisted members to fly unmanned aircraft.

After the all call, the two leaders embarked on a tour of the base, which provided them more detailed knowledge of the wing’s mission. They also had the opportunity to visit a few squadrons on this tour so they could meet and talk with Airmen in their workplaces.

Returning to their focus on resiliency, Wilson and Wright discussed improving the Air Force’s ability to retain Airmen.

Wilson ended the all call by highlighting the importance of taking care of people so they can complete their important mission.

“Of all the things we’ve talked about, the most important thing we’ve got is our people – that’s where airpower happens,” explained Wilson. “Today, what I see is unbelievable Airmen. On behalf of the chief, secretary, and our 18th chief master sergeant of the Air Force, thank you again for what you do in this important place here at The Rock, making the mission happen at a really important time in our nation’s history.”