Top enlisted Airman visits Ellsworth Airmen
By Airman 1st Class Jarad A. Denton, 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 23, 2009
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. (AFNS) -- The 16th chief master sergeant of the Air Force visited Ellsworth Air Force Base Oct. 21 and 22 to tour the installation and speak with Ellsworth members about education, deployments, fitness and family support.
"We are a nation at war," Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy said during an enlisted call. "We have to think of ourselves as a coalition, not just separate branches."
Chief Roy spoke about how much he learned from working alongside coalition forces. He also told Airmen here that servicemembers in other nations admire the opportunities and benefits afforded to members of the U.S. Air Force. However, with those benefits comes a responsibility to the overall mission of the Air Force and the professional development of its Airmen.
"What a great opportunity to host Chief Roy and have him connect with our Airmen," said Col. Jeffrey Taliaferro, 28th Bomb Wing commander. "It was a unique pleasure to find out what's going on in Washington, D.C., and to have him get a view of the incredible work our Airmen are doing to put bombs on target."
According to Chief Roy, the training and education of Airmen is important for the Air Force to complete its mission to fly, fight and win.
"We don't do anything by ourselves anymore," he said. "To succeed as a coalition force, we need enlisted men and women to focus on their training and education."
Chief Roy encouraged Airmen to focus on their professional military education, technical and on-the-job training, as well as off-duty education.
"We have some of the best professional education opportunities, for our enlisted force, in the world," he said. "We need to continue to make those opportunities available to Airmen when they need it."
Chief Roy emphasized the importance of continued leadership training to close the gap between Airmen Leadership School and the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy.
"(NCOs are) our first-line supervisors," Chief Roy said. "They need as much education as we can give them."
He made it a point to talk about the responsibility of NCOs in developing their Airmen.
"You are responsible for training those who come behind you," he said.
Along with reinforcing training and education goals for Airmen, Chief Roy spent time talking about providing relief for stressed career fields.
"After we determine where there are stressed career fields, we need focused recruiting, and the promotion of highly qualified Airmen," he said. "Those Airmen will bring an increased level of experience and education to their career field from the training and education they have received throughout their career. That level of excellence will continue as future Airmen strive to improve themselves and support the Air Force mission."
Chief Roy also spoke about furthering the Air Force mission by examining the effectiveness of existing programs that benefit the Air Force family. During a lunch, he ate with representatives from various councils, including the Enlisted Spouses Council.
Because 2009 has been designated the Year of the Air Force Family, Chief Roy said he has been communicating with members of Congress about revitalizing family support programs to assist Air Force family members.
"We're trying to look at all things related to family," he said. "If we take care of our people, then the people take care of the mission."
During a tour of the base he saw the facilities and programs available to family members, first-hand.
"We were very proud to show Chief Roy the Airmen, the capabilities of the base and the programs and facilities at Ellsworth," said Chief Master Sgt. Clifton G. Cole, 28BW command chief. "He was able to see how the services we offer help Airmen and their families further the mission here."
"This is my first time visiting Ellsworth, and I'm very impressed with the installation," Chief Roy said.
In addition to touring the base, Chief Roy worked out at the fitness center during his visit. Afterwards, he spoke in depth about the issues surrounding the new physical training test.
"The idea is to maintain a constant state of readiness and fitness," he said. "The new PT test is about developing a fitness lifestyle."
He encouraged Airmen to educate themselves on the requirements of the new PT test, so that nothing will come as a surprise to them when they are tested.
After lunch, Chief Roy concluded his visit to Ellsworth by talking about future challenges for the enlisted force. He wanted Airmen to understand the importance of following technical orders and complying with Air Force Instructions.
"The biggest challenge for the enlisted force is to remain focused on the mission," he said. "We have been running hard for a long time, and we need to make sure we don't become complacent with what we do."