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Top enlisted Airman impressed during Tinker visit

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy speaks with Airmen from the 552nd Air Control Wing Jan. 6, 2011, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dave Faytinger)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy speaks with Airmen from the 552nd Air Control Wing Jan. 6, 2011, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dave Faytinger)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The top enlisted Airman came here to speak with the Airmen Jan. 5-6. Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy delivered an important message centered on three focus areas - being ready for the joint/coalition fight, building resiliency and developing Airmen. But something else also happened.

Tinker impacted him. During his hectic two-day visit, in which Chief Roy visited popular base hotspots, met with officers, chiefs and the hundreds of enlisted personnel, he said Tinker left a positive impression on him.

"There are a lot of mission partners at this one installation and every Airman I talked to said he is excited about being here and the roles that he is doing," said Chief Roy, who is responsible for providing direction for the enlisted force and representing their interests to the government and public. He is the 16th chief master sergeant selected to the position.

"As I visited with the community downtown, I saw it is very supportive of Tinker and all of its Airmen," the chief said. "As a senior leader in this organization, it's great to have bases where people feel at home."

Airman 1st Class Codi Wallach, Junior Enlisted Council president, was among several Airmen invited to have lunch with the chief. Though she said she was initially intimidated, that wore off after the meet-and-greet and she took away helpful tips from the get together.

"Hearing Chief Roy talk was very insightful," she said. "He suggested the organizations come together and have joint meetings so they are not competing and can make a bigger effect on Tinker.

"Chief Roy also brought up some good questions to ask yourself before you join a professional organization such as, 'What does the organization provide for the community?' and 'Why be a part of that organization?'" Airman Wallach said. "Chief Roy helped me realize that professional organizations on Tinker help make a huge difference on the impact of the base and the surrounding communities."

A positive impact and involvement in the community is very important, the chief said. After all, it's not easy being in today's military, particularly when there's a war being fought and the technology is far more advanced than when he joined in 1982.

"It was a different era, almost 30 years ago," he said. "We were fighting the Cold War, and it was definitely a different time of history. It was one in which we did a lot of preparation through exercises and training.

"Today's Airmen are receiving first-hand combat experience very, very early in their careers," Chief Roy said. "To me, that's a huge challenge. That is going to formulate the way they lead in the future, and we have to give them the other elements of leadership - education and training - to couple with that combat experience."

Using what he called "pillars" within education and development training, Chief Roy said those methods will build Airmen of the future. Additionally, it's important for Airmen to balance real-world mission with training.

The chief said, excluding deployed Airmen, there are more than 160,000 Airmen associated with combatant commands affecting battle spaces overseas, even while stationed at their home base. As a result, Airmen need to know their roles are appreciated.

"You are important to the overall defense of our nation," Chief Roy said. "Thank you and your families for everything you do and endure."