CMSAF visits 501st Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Joel Mease
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy spoke to Airmen of the 501st Combat Support Wing and observed how the wing supports its mission partners during a site visit to RAF Croughton March 12.

This visit was the first opportunity for Chief Roy and his wife Paula to see some of the capabilities the 501st CSW has to offer, and he shared his first impression during an all-call.

"This is the first time we have been to the United Kingdom, and wow are we impressed," Roy said. "You have an outstanding operation."

One of the top concerns Roy has heard from Airmen is what will happen across the Air Force under the reduced fiscal year 13 budget.

"It's the hottest topic today, no matter what forum I'm in," Roy said. "Bottom line - we are going to have to change the way we operate, and take this as an opportunity to make positive changes."

Using the 501st as an example, Roy spoke of how customers only see the service provided, not the process required to accomplish that service.

"They oftentimes only see your final product, you are still going to provide that product," Roy said. "You can make a difference now by helping us prioritizing those requirements and refining your processes."

The chief said he also gets questions on the strategy for future Department of Defense operations.

"Yes, we are moving some assets to the Pacific; however, we are not giving up on our NATO partners," Roy said.

The chief said the partnerships we have cultivated with our European allies will continue to be important to the United States.

The chief also recognized that there are challenges facing Airmen across the Air Force.

"The numbers show sexual assaults are up, physical assaults are up and suicides are up. I take this personally" Roy said. "I don't know these Airmen personally but they are my Wingmen."

"This bothers me because a lot of us are trained to save lives. We need to look people in the eyes when we talk to them and remember it's a two-way street when we talk," Roy said. "I call it the art of confrontation; it's the art of sitting down and working though a situation."

Roy said that we have devolved from having analog discussions to using more and more digital communication methods. He said digital discussions like email and texting can't convey the nuance or deliver the same impact -- especially when talking with Wingmen about serious issues.

"Every life matters - so we need to look them in their eyes and have a discussion," Roy said. "They need to know you care about them and their families."