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Chief McKinley visits Airmen in San Antonio

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley congratulates Senior Airman Brian Ferguson on his promotion to staff sergeant during his visit to the Air Force News Agency in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 5. Airman Ferguson was deployed during the testing cycle and tested out of cycle earlier this month.  The Air Force News Agency photojournalist received his promotion under the supplemental selection board. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry Simmons)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley congratulates Senior Airman Brian Ferguson on his promotion to staff sergeant during his visit to the Air Force News Agency in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 5. Airman Ferguson was deployed during the testing cycle and tested out of cycle earlier this month. The Air Force News Agency photojournalist received his promotion under the supplemental selection board. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry Simmons)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley reviews an Airman magazine during his visit to the Air Force News Agency in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 5. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry Simmons)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley reviews an Airman magazine during his visit to the Air Force News Agency in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 5. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry Simmons)

Staff Sgt. Matt Bates shows Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley how to operate a remote satellite system during his visit to the Air Force News Agency in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 5. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry Simmons)

Staff Sgt. Matt Bates shows Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley how to operate a remote satellite system during his visit to the Air Force News Agency in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 5. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Larry Simmons)

SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) -- Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley learned about the Air Force News Agency's capabilities during a visit Dec. 5 here.

Agency Airmen showed the chief how their media products help tell the global Air Force story.

He also learned how agency products help support the strategic communications needs of Air Force leaders.

The chief said the news agency's mission is absolutely vital to the Air Force.

"The Air Force News Agency is critical to getting the Air Force message out there and making sure that we strategically communicate the right message of our Air Force," the chief said.

The chief met with the Airmen -- writers, photojournalists and broadcasters -- who travel around the world to gather Air Force news. He also visited the sections where the agency produces Air Force Print News, Air Force Radio and Television News, Web products and Army and Air Force Hometown News Service.

While talking with the news crews, the chief presented one of his coins and new staff sergeant stripes to Senior Airman Brian Ferguson, a photojournalist. He made the promotion under the supplemental selection board.

"It was very unexpected," Airman Ferguson said. "Not many people can say they've been promoted to staff sergeant by the chief master sergeant of the Air Force. It was great."

During his one-hour visit, Chief McKinley also wanted to hear the concerns Airmen and other agency workers had.

"I just want people to see me as a man who takes care of Airmen," he said.

While in the Alamo City, the chief will visit the Security Forces Center at Lackland Air Force Base. He will also visit the Air Force Personnel Center to take part in the Air Force combat action badge review board.

"We're trying to figure out if it should be a badge or a medal and what the criteria is to get it," the chief said. "We do know we want to recognize our Airmen who are in combat."

The group will provide a recommendation to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley.

Next week, the chief will take a whirlwind tour of four U.S. Southern Command bases.

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