Top enlisted Airman addresses key Cannon issues during visit
By Senior Airman Erik Cardenas, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 26, 2010
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) -- The Air Force's top enlisted Airman visited here Jan. 20 and addressed issues that ranged from housing and deployments to how Cannon Air Force Base Airmen fit into the bigger Air Force picture.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy told Airmen that top Air Force leaders are very aware of Cannon AFB housing issues and is working to address the shortages.
"Air Staff, along with wing leadership, is working to fix the problem," Chief Roy said during the Airmen's Call. "We are looking toward privatized housing, and working with surrounding communities to make sure we have adequate housing for Airmen."
First-term Airmen normally live in the dormitories until they are promoted to senior airman, but the influx of Airmen here has made it necessary to look at alternative measures. Dormitory shortages were addressed in August 2009 when the occupancy rate hit 89 percent. They are now at capacity and Airmen are being authorized basic allowance for housing.
"There are two dormitories planned for (fiscal) 2011 and 2012," Chief Roy said. "These should help, to some degree."
Airmen here, he said, have every element of support from Air Force and 27th Special Operations Wing leaders to local community leaders who are all working together to resolve the housing challenges new arrivals to Cannon AFB face.
When asked about what it takes Airmen to succeed, he said, "Be the best technician you can be, regardless of your career field. "
Airmen must have focus on their careers, and get the proper mix of training, education and experience to excel, the chief said. The special operations Airmen here fit into the Air Force in many different ways.
"We have Airmen assigned here who are in Haiti, of course, as well as other geographic commands," he said. "We are getting the equipment to Afghanistan as quickly as we can. It's a big role, and we've stepped up to the plate. "
The chief added that the number of Airmen in Afghanistan will continue to increase, not only for the operators, but also for those who work in combat support roles.
Additionally, Air Force officials will continue to remain in Iraq as they move equipment out of the country.
"We still have an air adviser role in Iraq," he said. There are about 200,000 Airmen currently supporting combatant or geographic commands.
"We are a nation at war," he said. "With a response time like no one else, that is why you get called."