MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Mountain Home AFB welcomed Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody May 5.
During his visit, airmen from around the wing showed Cody current initiatives for readiness as well as quality of life improvements.
“We are a great Air Force make no mistake about it,” Cody said to airmen 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, 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 addition to hearing success stories, Cody expressed his desire to hear about challenges airmen face.
“We showed that our Airmen are resilient based on the demands placed on the Gunfighters to help fight and win our nation's war against Daesh,” Brown said.
During his Feb. 26 testimony to the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs 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 the Air Force has faced over the past few years, Cody explained the importance of airpower and that the bases in Air Combat Command are all feeling the manning strain.
“This wing is really, really stressed and stretched right now in the things you are involved with across the board,” Cody said. “Right now in the DoD, the Air Force is providing the predominance of combat operations. 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 this updated evaluation system, it focuses more 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, 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.”