CMSAF visits Spangdahlem AB
By Staff Sgt. Tammie Moore, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office
/ Published April 19, 2007
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, GERMANY --
Spangdahlem Airmen had the unique opportunity to meet with the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force April 13 during an Airman's Call here.
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley traveled to Spangdahlem as part of his initial tour of bases under the U.S. Forces in Europe command. During this tour he made a point to spend time talking to Airmen and answering their questions.
"We had a great visit with Chief McKinley," said Col. Darryl Roberson, 52nd Fighter Wing commander. "It is always good to get the most senior leadership perspective on what is going on in our Air Force."
During the Airman's Call, which included more than 250 Airmen, Chief McKinley spent approximately two hours engaged in conversation with Sabers in a light-hearted conversation full of laughs but at the same time targeting the issues on the Airmen's minds.
"All of the information was great," said Senior Airman Melanie Middlebrooks, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Material management journeyman. "A lot of times being an Airman we don't understand the whole concept at our level, so the information about the mission of the Air Force and the specific details were beneficial. I think it is very important that Airmen understand why we are doing our job and the contributions that we make to the overall Air Force mission."
Some of these details that Chief McKinley discussed ranged from the "War on Terrorsim" to the new enlisted performance feedback forms to mandatory training. The Chief also offered advice about the upcoming air and space expeditionary force rotations.
"AEFs are important," he said. "That is what we are now. We are an expeditionary Air Force. We have to be prepared to go to war. The number one priority of the Air Force is winning the war on terrorism; that is something that everyone needs to know, something that everyone has to train and equip for."
The Chief continued to say that when an Airman is assigned to an AEF rotation, that means they need to be ready to go at a moment's notice.
"Be ready, take the AEF seriously," Chief McKinley said. "This is, no kidding, real. You have to be mentally, physically and spiritually ready. You also have to make sure that your dependents, your spouses and children are going to be well taken care of while you are at war. Be ready, take the AEF seriously."
Another key topic that Chief McKinley stressed was the need for Airmen to take advantage of the educational opportunities open to them.
"I want everyone to work on getting their Community College of the Air Force degree," he said. "I see Airmen all the time who finished their CCAF in two years. Our Airmen are smart -- give them the opportunity to succeed."
Chief McKinley's straight forward answers provided also Sabers insight the Air Force's priorities.
"Chief McKinley reminded us of something we should all know, the Global War on Terror is the number one priority of our Air Force," said Chief Master Sgt. Vance Clarke, 52nd Fighter Wing command chief. "We need to buy new aircraft and space systems to ensure we 'recapitalize and modernize' our Air Force and Chief McKinley did not sugar coat that there will be tough times while we are modernizing, training and fighting but he has faith in us as Airmen. He knows that we can get it done and remain the premier fighting force we are."
Colonel Roberson felt the chief's opportunity to visit with the various Airmen and units on base was educational for all parties.
"His talk to our Airmen was enlightening, his time spent with our senior NCO's was very valuable, and the briefings we gave him were important so that he could learn the key issues in the 52nd FW and the 726th AMS," Colonel Roberson said. "Chief McKinley knows the great job the wing is doing for our Air Force and NATO partners."
After the Airman's Call ended many Sabers took advantage of the unique opportunity to talk with Chief McKinley and have their photo taken with him.
"Meeting a Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force is a great experience," Chief Clarke said. "I am sure everyone who came in contact with him felt his positive energy and the desire he has to see our careers take shape and blossom."
Colonel Roberson wished to share his thanks with all of the Sabers who helped coordinate the visit, because trips like this do not happen on their own.
"Thanks to all who worked so hard to make his visit memorable," Colonel Roberson said.
Chief Clarke mirrored Colonel Roberson's appreciation, "You all represented our team well and showed that we are ready to aid the Air Force's priorities and able to continue to make a difference."