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Airmen: Our greatest strength

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force’s top enlisted Airman, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, along with top enlisted members of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on personnel, about the impact budget decisions have on the enlisted force, April 9.

“America’s Airmen continue to generate the greatest Air Force the world has ever known,” Cody said. “They are innovative, dedicated and passionate men and women who understand freedom doesn’t come without a cost. It must be fought for and won.”

Cody, along with the other services’ enlisted leaders, was a member of a two-panel hearing, examining the active, guard, reserve and civilian programs in review of the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2015 and the Future Years Defense Program.

Top personnel leaders from all services comprised the first panel, while the enlisted force was represented by the second. All leaders spoke with one message – people are the most important asset each service possesses.

“The Air Force remains committed to providing the highest quality Airmen to combatant commanders, who have been actively engaged in combat operations for more than 23 consecutive years,” said Lt. Gen. Sam Cox,the Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “Our Airmen remain at the forefront of today’s conflicts, and other contingency operations around the globe.”

Cox noted the professionalism and dedication of the Airmen serving today, attributing the success of Air Force operations to those who do the job, day in and day out.

“As we continue to meet the budget challenges, it is their commitment, ingenuity and hard work that will help us navigate our future,” Cox said. “We are committed to train and equip the highest quality Airmen to ensure our Air Force remains capable of supporting any contingency around the world, and overcoming any future adversary.”

Cody not only expressed his appreciation for the expertise and professionalism of the Airmen who serve, but for the families who support these Airmen.

“Our Air Force families are also a critical component of our success,” he said. “The commitment to our nation is not lost on any of them. They serve alongside each and every one of us. They stay strong while loved ones deploy to warzones in foreign countries. Their faith and support is critical to our Airmen, and enable the dedicated force to focus on mission accomplishment.”

Cody addressed Airmen compensation and benefit packages, which are under scrutiny.

“I want to be real clear that our Airmen are not overpaid, so this discussion we’re having about compensation in the military is not because we feel they are overpaid,” Cody said. “They have earned everything that they receive today, all service men and women and their families have. They have sacrificed for it; they have served for it. But we must make tough decisions to ensure we can maintain our readiness and modernization going forward.”  Cody said, despite the fact that Airmen continue to experience tremendous uncertainty in regards to compensation, they are committed to completing the mission.

“They have never wavered from their commitment to serve our nation, and they have continuously demonstrated our core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do,” he said.

The importance of meeting challenges head on, and communicating at all levels is paramount to any future plans, Cody explained.

“We cannot forget that our Air Force is powered by people – Airmen – who clearly give us the advantage,” Cody said. “Our Airmen have faced and overcome challenges at every turn, and continue to serve honorably and proudly in defense of our nation. They count on your leadership to ensure they can continue to win the fight for America.”
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