CSAF and CMSAF visit Bagram Airmen
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody chat with Airmen of the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Group at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Feb. 6, 2013. Welsh and Cody visited as a part of a multi-base tour to meet with Airmen throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney)
by Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
2/9/2013 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- On their first visit to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody had many words for the Airmen here.
The two they said most often were "thank you."
Throughout their visit, which included the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Group, 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron and the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Welsh and Cody thanked the Bagram Airmen for their hard work, devotion and skills.
Beyond merely thanking them, Welsh and Cody also empowered them.
"I don't like being in the Air Force...I love being in the Air Force," Welsh said to a gathering of approximately 150 Airmen from across the wing during an Airman's Call.
"You can change the Air Force from the bottom up," he said, assuring the Airmen that he is on their side when it comes to ensuring rules and policies adhere to common sense.
"If something doesn't make sense to you, it doesn't make sense to me," Welsh said. "And if you are the one not making sense, stop it."
He encouraged Airmen to not just question rules and policies, but to think creatively and find better and smarter ways to accomplish the mission.
He told audiences that the strength of the Air Force is found in its people and every Airman has a unique story that explains why they serve, who inspires them, and what they contribute to the nation's defense.
Welsh and Cody emphasized the importance of 'knowing' these stories.
The chief of staff said supervisors and commanders need to know the stories of the Airmen in their charge in order to effectively lead them. He recounted a situation from one of his previous commands where not finding out about an Airman's family almost led to the loss of a child custody case.
Knowing the stories also builds teamwork and camaraderie, Cody said.
"It takes a family of Airmen to do [our mission]," Cody said, as he encouraged Airmen to consider themselves as one family. "You need to know about the Airman standing next to you."