WASHINGTON — Professionalism was the common thread when the Air Force’s senior enlisted leader talked about the Airmen of yesterday, today and tomorrow during the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16 in Washington, D.C.
“I want to talk to you about the legacy of more than seven million enlisted men and women in our Air Force, and how proud I am of them,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody. “There is no question that our Air Force looks different because of the legacy and the commitment of those who came before us, and we have to carry that forward.”
He explained the commitment carried by today’s Airmen and their responsibility to propel the Air Force into the future, all while maintaining a culture of integrity, service and excellence.
“We understand in our chosen profession that it is a higher calling with higher standards,” Cody said. “We defend our nation and win its wars. We all take an oath and it really is a constant reminder of the gravity of that commitment to our nation. We live by core values that guide us in everything that we do.”
Cody said today’s enlisted force is the most educated, experienced and capable it has ever been. Ninety-four percent of enlisted Airmen have some college education; 80 percent of Airmen know nothing more than a career of continuous combat operations. The Air Force is continuously advancing education opportunities, technologies and methodologies to grow more effective leaders.
“How we leverage our Airmen today is unprecedented in the history of our force,” Cody said. “We are a pretty phenomenal Air Force and really an exceptionally, exceptionally professional enlisted force.”
He encouraged Airmen to constantly develop themselves and those around them, using honest and meaningful feedback and tools like MyVector to connect with Airmen at all levels.
“Connecting with our Airmen … is essential to our professional force,” Cody said. “(It’s not) just about getting a job done … it’s a lot more than that in our chosen profession.”
The chief expressed his pride in today’s Airmen and in their families, and the confidence he has in the enlisted force. He shared stories of Airmen from across the force, highlighting their professionalism and dedication to service.
“When you take a professional force that’s proud of what they do, you know what you get? You get performers,” he said. “This is our Air Force; these are our Airmen. This is what they do and how can you not be extremely proud? There are a lot of great things about being the chief master sergeant of the Air Force, but there is nothing, nothing better than spending time with Airmen.”