CMSAF visits Davis-Monthan AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Washburn
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy visited Airmen and their families here Jan. 13.

During his visit he sat down for an interview and discussed many topics, including the new physical training procedures, the drawdown in Iraq, suicide in the Air Force and other issues and concerns.

Fitness test procedures have changed. The fitness assessment cell is no longer counting the number of sit-ups and push-ups that each Airman do. It's now up to Airmen to count for each other with FAC officials monitoring the process.

"We need to look at the original intent of the PT program," Chief Roy said. "The idea was never for the FAC to count every single push-up. The intent was that the FAC pairs up people and oversees the repetitions. We just changed the wording to make it a little bit clearer for people to understand."

Though some may dislike the current PT procedures, Chief Roy said he sees the value in it.

"I like the fact that I see people working together; I see a much fitter force; I see teamwork and also the effects of Airmen going to an area to do the testing, and the test being equal amongst everybody," the chief said. "That was the intent, to make it fair and equitable for everybody."

Chief Roy said many Airmen are curious how the ongoing drawdown in Iraq and the dynamic situation in Afghanistan will affect the number and duration of Air Force enlisted deployments.

"We have standardized deployments to six months," he said. "The fact is that over half of our Air Force specialty codes are doing a six month deployment, that's why we normalized it. We're not seeing a real decrease in numbers because as we draw down in one area (Iraq), we're building up in another (Afghanistan). It's more of a shift of forces."

Chief Roy then addressed the growing number of suicides in the Air Force.

"In 2010, there were 100 suicides," he said. "That's unacceptable. One suicide is too many. We need to raise awareness that this is a problem."

He also touched on what senior NCOs and supervisors can do to help stem the tide of suicides.

"You need to be engaged; you have got to know your Airmen," he said. "Ask them how they're doing, if they're OK, and really mean what you say. We have to make sure that we place value on life because life is so precious."

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has certainly been one of the most talked about issues as of late, Chief Roy said.

Chief Roy shared what he said all Airmen should know about the repeal.

"Airmen need to understand that DADT is still a law, and it's still a policy, but everyone needs to understand the stipulation," he said. "The bill stated that there are three people that have to certify it: the president of the United States, the secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After they certify the bill, it takes 60 days before the repeal takes place," Chief Roy said.

Chief Roy shared advice on how newly enlisted Airmen can have a successful career in the Air Force.

"A fundamental thing is to be the best Airman you can be, and find a good mentor," he said. "Look for difficult positions and leadership opportunities and volunteer for them. That's one of the things that we have always recognized. We place high value on leadership."

Before he departed, Chief Roy commended base and local members for a job well done.

"I want to say thank you to the local community," he said. "I had the opportunity to meet some folks, and the community absolutely supports the military and their families, and I really appreciate that. Regardless of what wing you're in or what command you're in, you're part of such a diverse mission here on (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base).

"There's a lot of teamwork (here), and I appreciate that from all the Airmen," the chief concluded.