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Cody discusses ops tempo with Mountain Home Airmen

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody talks to the 366th Fighter Wing during an all call May 5, 2016, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Cody responded to various questions presented to him by airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Alaysia Berry/Released)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody talks to Airmen with the 366th Fighter Wing during an all call May 5, 2016, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Cody responded to various questions from Airmen during his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Alaysia Berry)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody meets with airmen during a Q&A with the 366th Maintenance Squadron during a night shift May 4, 2016, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Q&A gave maintainers on night shift, who would not be able to attend the following day’s all-call, the chance to interact with Cody. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chester Mientkiewicz/Released)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody meets with Airmen for a Q&A with the 366th Maintenance Squadron during a night shift May 4, 2016, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. The Q&A gave maintainers on night shift, who would not be able to attend the following day’s all call, the chance to interact with Cody. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chester Mientkiewicz)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Schick, 366th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, gives Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody guidance on where to aim during target practice with a MK 19 Mod 3 May 5, 2016, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Cody was hitting targets approximately 1,500 meters away. The MK 19 has a maximum range of more than 2,000 meters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chester Mientkiewicz/Released)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Schick, a 366th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, gives Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody guidance on where to aim during target practice with a MK19 grenade launcher on May 5, 2016, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Cody was hitting targets approximately 1,500 meters away. The MK19 has a maximum range of more than 2,000 meters. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chester Mientkiewicz)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho (AFNS) -- The top enlisted Airman discussed current initiatives for readiness as well as quality of life improvements with Airmen during a visit May 5 to Mountain Home Air Force Base.

“We are a great Air Force, make no mistake about it,” Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody said during an all call. “We are great because of you; we are great because that sacrifice and service you do every day.”

Chief Master Sgt. David Brown, the 366th Fighter Wing command chief, expressed gratitude for the visit.

“At his level he completely understands, but hearing ‘thank you’ in person sends a totally different message than an email,” Brown said.

In his visit, Cody expressed his desire to hear about the challenges Airmen are facing at the base.

“This wing is really, really stressed and stretched right now in the things you are involved with across the board,” Cody said of the 366th Fighter Wing.

During his Feb. 26 testimony at a House appropriations subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, Cody stated the Air Force had cut its manpower by nearly 24,000 Airmen in the active, Guard and Reserve components from 2012 to 2015.

Even with the cuts, Cody explained the importance of airpower and that bases in Air Combat Command are all feeling the manning strain.

“Right now in the (Defense Department), the Air Force is providing the predominance of combat operations,” Cody said. “On any given day, we are doing more operations than any other service. We understand the demands, and we are working to boost our manning this year so we can get this right.”

Along with manning, another widely discussed topic in the Air Force is the new enlisted evaluation system.

Cody admitted that, in the past, senior leaders were putting too much emphasis on seniority and not enough on performance. So, with the updated evaluation system, more focus is on the performance aspect.

“We have not promoted the wrong people,” Cody said. “We have been promoting in the wrong order.”

While some still may be skeptical about the new system, others are a little more welcoming.

“Through all the changes, in my almost 23 years, I think we are getting it right with the (evaluation) system,” said Senior Master Sgt. Brian Chris, the 366th Operation Support Squadron superintendent. “Focusing on the primary duties and not so much on the volunteer work, I think we are on the right track. I look forward to the future.”

Wrapping up the all call, Cody gave context to the issues of the Air Force, reminding Airmen of its virtues.

“We are more globally engaged than ever before,” he said. “We do this because you’re an all-volunteer professional force; the best trained, the most educated and the most experienced fighting force the world has ever known.”

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