Chief McKinley 'schools' Senior NCO Academy instructors

  • Published
  • By Scott Knuteson
  • Air University Public Affairs
An early morning lesson in basketball from the chief master sergeant of the Air Force has become a tradition for instructors at the Senior NCO Academy here, and the Feb. 25 game was no different.

The morning after each one of the school's graduations -- five times every year -- Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley and other command chiefs from throughout the Air Force present for the week's events challenge the Senior NCO Academy instructors.

"The game is always a highlight of his visit," said Chief Master Sgt. Shelia Knox, the vice commandant of the Senior NCO Academy. "This is just a small example of how Chief McKinley likes to be among the Airmen."

Speaking about the importance of health and fitness for all Airmen, Chief McKinley said basketball is his way of staying in shape.

"I've always loved playing basketball," Chief McKinley said. "Whether I was a senior airman, a technical sergeant or chief master sergeant of the Air Force, I've made it a point to get to the fitness center."

And although fitness was certainly a byproduct of this game, the goal for both sides today was to win.

"I think we're about 19 and 2," Chief McKinley said of his team's winning record.

In spite of their losing streak for the majority of the past twenty-something games, the commandant of the academy and his instructors were determined not to lose.

"Not this time," said Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Norman, the Senior NCO Academy commandant prior to the game.

"I put a requirement out that our players had to be taller than 6 feet and not scared to rough up a chief in the paint," he added, tongue-in-cheek.

But this time, like so many previous games, was no different.

Chatter after the game among the winning team indicated maybe age and "experience" had something to do with their chalking up another win.

Whether the instructors are politely deferring to their superiors or the chiefs are truly more talented may continue to remain a matter of debate. Either way, fitness was the ultimate goal.

"Fitness is an integral part of everything we do," said Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley, the command chief for the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. "As our mission continues to grow, we need to continue to focus on it. We get paid to stay fit to defend our nation."

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

View the comments/letters page