CMSAF visits Incirlik AB, talks Air Force changes

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kali Gradishar
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy visited here March 15-16 to meet Airmen performing 39th Air Base Wing missions and discuss current and future Air Force changes.

Roy spoke to Airmen about topics such as education and training, Air Force budget cuts and resiliency.

At one point he addressed necessary adjustments following the release of the National Defense Budget, which outlines a significant decrease in funding to all military services. While the Air Force is shaping to best meet its mission requirements, Roy emphasized a commitment to operations at Incirlik AB and beyond.

"What we need people to understand, specifically here at Incirlik and across Europe, is we're here to stay; it's an enduring mission," said the chief master sergeant of the Air Force. "The mission set that this particular command has is one that is relied upon by many combatant commands and many other agencies, and it's going to stay.

"We also want our NATO allied partners to understand that we're in this with you," he said. "We're not going anywhere."

As budget constraints affect the entire Air Force mission, so too does the change in high year of tenure, a term used to define the time period by which an Airman must reach the next rank before he or she must separate from the Air Force.

"This makes the second change made to the high year of tenure during my time as chief master sergeant of the Air Force," Roy noted. "As we continue to shape the force, this was a necessary piece that we needed to do. It is a very competitive Air Force ... and it's going to be more competitive in the future."

Roy stressed the amount of control Airmen have over their own fates regarding high year of tenure, stating the key to reaching the next rank is a clear focus and motivation to study for the Professional Development Guide and specialty knowledge tests under the Weighted Airman Promotion System.

Beyond high year of tenure and WAPS testing, the chief master sergeant of the Air Force highlighted the new adaptation of enlisted professional military education -- EPME Next.

"What we have found over the past few years ... is there's a huge gap in our enlisted professional military education," he said, referencing the average 10-year gap between airman leadership school and NCO academy. That time frame is "a very important era for Airmen because that's the time in which they find themselves as first-line supervisors."

EPME Next is "not just another box of books," Roy said. The change involves providing Airmen with earlier and more consistent exposure to Air Force institutional competencies through distance learning in addition to, and in some cases in lieu of, in-residence courses. The goal is to provide development at an earlier stage in an Airman's career to better meet the Air Force mission requirements of the future.

Roy encouraged Airmen to maintain a resilient attitude, not only as Airmen transition to a leaner force but also in day-to-day life.

"Resiliency to me means not just the ability to be able to work through a situation -- it's the ability to work through it but also continue to grow through it," Roy said. "So as you're faced with other challenges throughout life, you're able to manage those."

Following the chief master sergeant of the Air Force's tour around Incirlik AB, greeting and speaking with Airmen, he claimed the greatest thing about Airmen here is "just the simple motivation. ... The mission sets that are here -- as they have grown -- our Airmen are trained (and) motivated to do those things."

He also observed "the professionalism of our Airmen every single day and the fact that they are motivated to do their jobs and work with the host nation here. I just would caveat that by saying it's our family members, as well.

"This being a short tour, if you will, a lot of our family members come here and they find that it may not be the same as 'Hometown, USA,'" he said. "What I would ask of all the family members is to ... get out and be a part of the activities."

As he departed Incirlik AB, he expressed thanks to U.S. and Turkish airmen and emphasized the importance of building and maintaining host-nation partnerships.