CMSAF discusses future, heritage during visit to Columbus AFB Published Oct. 1, 2014 By Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody and his wife, retired Chief Master Sgt. Athena Cody, visited Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, Sept. 24-25, taking time to meet with Airmen and discuss several of the Air Force's current hot topics."More than anything the reason Athena and I and our team are here ... is to thank you," Cody said. "Thank you for what you do every single day for our Air Force."In addition to discussing topics such as the Enlisted Evaluation System changes and developmental special duty nominations, Cody also talked about the latest Air Expeditionary Force construct."As we continue to evolve the AEF process to meet the demands of the combatant commanders, we have to make sure we get the dwell rates right and give our Airmen the predictability they deserve while actually having the people that work and operate together, deploy and operate together," Cody said. "This construct gives us the ability to do that while still accomplishing our mission at home."Cody said there will always be intricacies to meeting these demands through the process, and that the construct is built to allow for it."Given the requirement that's out there by the combatant commander, it can have a varied impact on a base like Columbus, and certainly the Air Education and Training Command bases because of their mission," Cody said. "You can't feed the fight unless you're producing pilots."Cody said the future is "latent with opportunity" for the service to move forward, and that Airmen of today are the right type of people to take advantage of those opportunities."I think there's a lot of opportunity here for each and every one of you," he said. "A call to the future, that's what the secretary (of the Air Force) and chief (of staff of the Air Force) are talking about. Take advantage of that opportunity."Airmen who create new opportunities have at least two ways to share them with the Air Force. One is the Airmen Powered by Innovation program, an initiative started in 2014, that gives innovative Airmen an avenue to put their ideas forward to the Air Force. However, the Air Force's top enlisted leader also encouraged Airmen to work their ideas at their home stations."A lot of that innovation can be executed right here locally on any given day," Cody said. "A lot of the things that our Airmen want to do, they can do. Talk to your supervisors, talk to your chain of command."Innovation isn’t new to the Air Force and has always been at the heart of who Airmen are, Cody said."We wouldn't be the service we are today if it hadn't been for the great work, the legacy, of those innovative Airmen before us," he said.The 14th Flying Training Wing's theme for 2014 is "Heritage to Horizons," and Cody said the initiative helps all Airmen connect with their heritage."When you think about those legends whose shoulders we stand on every single day as Airmen, what they did for us, they didn't look at things in the manner of 'Hey, we're going to get to the finish line and we're finished and now we just kind of stand there and bask in our glory,'" Cody said. "What they really did is they continued to elevate us to the platforms -- not plateaus, the platforms -- by which we could see where we had the potential and opportunity to go."I could give you countless stories about Airmen I have met that you could read stories about that really inspire and motivate you every day. Again, we stand on the shoulders of giants. It is certainly a proud heritage we come from, but I also like to think about the Airmen that serve today, and the legacy they are creating."Cody said the visits across the Air Force energize him."The reason for all these visits, the primary reason, is to look our Airmen in the face, spend as much time as we can with them, and to earnestly let them know how much we appreciate what they do every day," he said. "Athena and I have been really fortunate to have that opportunity over the last couple of days here with Team BLAZE."