News>Gunfighters meet 8th CMSAF during recent visit
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Sam E. Parish, who served as the 8th CMSAF from 1983- 1986, introduces himself to Republic of Singapore Air Force 428th Fighter Squadron airmen Feb. 3, 2012, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Parish expressed how impressed he was with today’s Air Force preparing Airmen for the future and the great partnerships the service has established with other nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Hayward/Released)
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Sam E. Parish, who served as the 8th CMSAF from 1983-1986, speaks to students attending the Airman Leadership School Feb. 3, 2012, at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Parish spoke about issues facing Airmen such as possible retirement changes, and other hot topic items like resiliency training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Hayward/Released)
by Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
2/3/2012 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- The eighth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force visited MHAFB Airmen and was the keynote speaker at the base's 2011 Annual Awards ceremony, Feb. 3, 2012.
Chief Master Sgt. Sam E. Parish, who served as CMSAF from 1983 - 1986, spoke about issues facing Airmen such as possible retirement changes, and other hot topic items like resiliency training.
"Remember, this is just talk about changing the retirement system," said Chief Parish. "The first thing that will be done is to appoint a group of people to study all the proposed changes and what the possible effects could be."
For the past few months, possible changes and their eventual effects have been considered by senior military leaders.
"I have faith in our leadership and believe they will not do something that will destroy our military as we know it," said Chief Parish. "The things our country needs will get taken care of."
Many Airmen who have joined in the past five to eight years have made the decision to make a career out of serving in the Air Force.
"My major concern isn't the 17-year-old who wants to join, but the current Airmen," explained Chief Parish. "Just as long as we don't break the promise we made when they volunteered to join and ensure the decision made doesn't become a recruiting and retention problem."
A question about the possibility of a 401K-retirement option was raised to the Chief.
"In my opinion, if the changes made are a 401K style plan, it should be a same
percentage across the board as opposed to a set dollar amount," explained Chief Parish. "That way a senior airman and a general are paying the same percentage of their salaries."
Chief Parish expressed how impressed he was with how the new generation of Airmen is preparing for the future.
"The Airmen who have joined in the last 10 years are the first group I can remember who have ever joined and talk about retirement during their first or second enlistment," said Chief Parish. "They know exactly what they want from the Air Force in their lives and go after it."
One particular Airman was given the chance to accompany Chief Parish around during his visit to MHAFB.
"His vast knowledge has been amazing to witness, especially during his visit to the Airman Leadership School and the First Term Airmen's Center class," said Staff Sgt. Nathan Jackson, 366th Fighter Wing Staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of wing knowledge operations. "His experience with the responsibilities of being an outstanding supervisor, the importance of being a wingman and basically always positively contributing to improve your personal resiliency, whether on or off duty, has been fantastic to see."
Taking care of Airmen is a personal mission for Chief Parish.
"The resiliency training is very important because of the multiple factors which cause the need," stated Chief Parish. "It's not just deployments, because I see many Airmen who volunteer to go back again and again."
Although, he did stress that multiple deployments were stressful for Airmen and their families.
"The effects of not having resiliency training as part of military life have proven to be very damaging on the force," explained Chief Parish. "In my opinion, supervisors need to take a more in-depth role with their Airmen so they feel comfortable coming to them if they have a problem or issue. Supervisors need to remember that the mission is very important, but cannot happen without the people who will perform it."
Chief Parish emphasized finding things one personally enjoys would improve morale and is a part of being resilient.
"The Air Force allows men and women the opportunity to excel in a variety of ways," said Chief Parish. "The best place in the world to be assigned is where you are today."