CMSAF talks to Airmen: Joint efforts important

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher Gross
  • Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy emphasized the importance of working together in joint environments during a visit here before traveling to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

While at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Roy spoke to the hundreds of Airmen and Soldiers who werein attendance.

Roy was the senior enlisted leader and adviser at the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii during the time JB Elmendorf-Richardson was in the early stages of ramping up to make the joint base change. He left in June 2009 to assume his current position.

"I don't think people expected it to run quite as smoothly as it does here," he said. "It's unbelievable of what's transformed here over the last few years, just from my view."

The chief said the enthusiasm and motivation everybody has about making this joint base work is what impressed him the most.

Running into challenges comes with the joint basing territory, but "we've got to continue to view those subjects that are a little controversial together," he said. "Sometimes we've got to view them through our joint partner's (eyes) and that can be a challenge sometimes, but the longer we do this the better."

A way the chief said he wants to have a more successful integration of services is by working and training together.

"What about joint and coalition teams we work with?," he said. "Shouldn't we educate that way? Shouldn't we train that way? I believe we should. We send 32 Airmen a year to the U.S. Coast Guard Enlisted Academy. For the first time in four years, we've just graduated two Airmen, one active duty and one guard, from the Army's Sergeants Major Academy."

The next step is future roles, he said. The chief said today's Airmen are resilient and will step up to any challenge they face.

"I'm excited for what our Airmen have to look forward to in the future, but there are challenges ahead of us." Roy said. "The future is very, very bright, but there are challenges."

He said fiscal constraints are coming, more than $400 billion, but he is confident the Air Force will successfully work through them.

"I'm not going to paint you a doom and gloom picture," the chief said. "But I need to paint you reality. The way we do things today are going to change. Our force structure is going to change."

One of the questions brought up during Roy's Airmen's Call was possible cuts to tuition assistance.

He advised Airmen to put on their taxpayer's hat and ask themselves if they can really afford to have two educational benefits.

One being the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the other 100 percent tuition assistance. He said no decisions have been made, but don't be surprised if there's an annual cap or something along those lines to educational benefits.

He said no matter what, "we've got to remain one team; we've got to remain that professional, safe and reliable partner our joint and coalition forces rely upon," he said.

In preparation for a much more constricted future, the chief mentioned the term "deliberate development" of Airmen meaning the need to develop Airmen for the future, by helping them gain the proper experience, education and training.

"This is too important not to get this right," he said.

After the Airman's Call, Tech. Sgt. James Bailey, from the 715th Air Mobility Operation Group, said he was very pleased with the chief's talk. He said he was very interested in a point Roy made about Airmen reaching out to their congressional representatives and voicing their opinions, because sometimes their representative might not understand the challenges men and women in the armed services are faced with if they themselves have never served.

Senior Master Sgt. Leon Calloway, the senior enlisted manger for the 611th Civil Engineer Squadron, said he was also impressed with the chief.

"I think he's straight forward and honest," he said.