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CMSAF spends day with Andrews Airmen

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody introduces himself to Tech. Sgt. Thomas White during his visit with Airmen assigned to the Air Force District of Washington March 23, 2015, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. White is the unit training manager for AFDW. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Tammie Moore)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody introduces himself to Tech. Sgt. Thomas White during his visit with Airmen assigned to the Air Force District of Washington March 23, 2015, at Joint Base Andrews, Md. White is the unit training manager for AFDW. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Tammie Moore)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody rings the victory bell with Airmen from the Air Force Legal Operations Agency March 23, 2015, during his visit to Joint Base Andrews, Md. The bell is rang when there is a legal victory in the office. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Philip Bryant)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody rings the victory bell with Airmen from the Air Force Legal Operations Agency March 23, 2015, during his visit to Joint Base Andrews, Md. The bell is rang when there is a legal victory in the office. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Philip Bryant)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody addresses Airmen March 23, 2015, during his visit to Joint Base Andrews, Md. Cody serves as the personal adviser to the chief of staff of the Air Force and the secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, and proper utilization and progress of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Tammie Moore)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody addresses Airmen March 23, 2015, during his visit to Joint Base Andrews, Md. Cody serves as the personal adviser to the chief of staff of the Air Force and the secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, and proper utilization and progress of the enlisted force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Tammie Moore)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- The 17th chief master sergeant of the Air Force met with Airmen March 23, 2015, at Joint Base Andrews to thank them for their contributions to the mission and personally answer questions about Air Force issues.

"Everybody is working hard; there is a lot going on," said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody. "There is never a lack of something to do, but it's important we take advantage of any opportunity we have to come together. It's important we engage in a dialogue that you want to talk about. I will listen to everything you have to say."

During his visit, Cody held three small breakout Q-and-A sessions with Airmen, many of whom wanted to learn more about the new feedback process and rating system.

Senior Airman Nila Curry, an executive assistant with the 744th Communication Squadron, expressed concern that the limited number of top ratings could create a cut-throat environment.

"Teamwork is a big part of what we do," Cody said. "No one Airman will ever be better than the team. If a person does what you described, they just helped us determine who isn't the top performer. The person who can't work together doesn't understand that while your individual effort is important, you are based on merit and the good you do for our Air Force. If you do things at the cost of everybody else you are not the person we need on our team."

Cody expanded on this, stating that the new feedback system requires more meaningful and purposeful conversations with Airmen.

"I never improved in my entire career when someone said 'sergeant Cody you are great,'" he said. "Real improvement comes in your life and career when people give you constructive feedback, when you learn something about yourself. Once you internalize that and make the right steps to move forward you actually do get better. You want (this kind of feedback) as often as you can get it; it's how you start to advance."

Cody also offered advice to Airmen about career progression.

"Don't complicate it," he said. "Do your best every day. We can't ask any more than that. Continue to work hard and stay focused on the mission."

Cody also acknowledged the anxiety Airmen said they have felt during the last two years going through sequestration and force management initiatives.

"We grew up with a sense of stability and this idea that as long as we're working hard, we're going to have a job and will be ok," he said. "But over the last two years, the government shut down and we've gone through force management; we've had some significant things to work through. It creates anxiety and stress in a way that is not healthy given the fact that we don't hit the pause button and work through the challenges. From where I stand and what I see, you all are doing the best you can possibly do given the constrained environment we find ourselves in today. It's important for you to know we appreciate you and what you do for our Air Force."

As Cody visited various duty sections, meeting with Airmen from the Air Force District of Washington, he continued to stress his gratitude of each person and the support their families provide.

"I appreciate what you do every day and your families who support you," Cody said. "Make sure you thank them. They are the ones who are there for you no matter what; it's important that they realize how critical they are."

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