Former Chief Master Sergeants of AF visit Ramstein 

Staff Sgt. Chad Padgett
USAFE News Service 

***image1***The first and eighth Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force Paul Wesley Airey and Sam E. Parish, and Chief Master Sergeants of the Airforce Frederick J. Finch, were at the Ramstein Officers’ Club Aug. 26 to help induct Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong, USAFE commander, into the Order of the Sword.

While at Ramstein, Chiefs Airey and Parish discussed the state of the Air Force from their earlier days to the current post Sept. 11 environment.

“We are now an expeditionary type of Air Force and from what I can see we are going to be an expeditionary type of Air Force for many years to come,” said Chief Airey. “We’re fighting the war on terrorism and we must have our people prepared to be in any place in the world in a relatively short period of time and I see that’s the way we’re going.”

The new style is a huge change from the early years when both chiefs first joined the Air Force.
“The entire time that I spent in the Air Force, we were in a Cold War situation,” said Chief Parish. “We knew exactly who we were concerned with and what we were concerned with. Today we live in a different environment. We can’t identify the enemy, other than terrorism. They don’t wear uniforms like those we faced. Today our Airmen are faced with vastly different challenges.”

The chiefs were also quick to notice the changes in the Air Force structure.
Today an airman basic does the job an airman first class and senior airman were doing, and Airmen are doing jobs previously done by young officers or middle-grade NCOs, said Chief Parish.

“Our Airmen of today have the ability, intelligence and the initiative to step up and do what has to be done,” said Chief Airey.

Both chiefs agree that many of today’s improvements in the Air Force structure come from quality of life issues, such as education.

“With the increase in the education and dedication, it’s only natural that given the opportunity our enlisted force will excel. Our senior officer leadership through the years has given us the opportunity to excel and we have excelled beyond belief,” said Chief Parish. “The Airman force we have today is the most educated, dedicated and disciplined enlisted corps this Air Force has ever had in its entire history, and it has caused this to be the best Air Force we have ever been in our entire history.”

While benefits and pay raises have been added and military members are now doing jobs that were usually left for those with more rank, there is one thing that Chief Parish believes has not changed.

“America has always had a way of rising to the occasion as a general rule through our history when they felt it was important,” he said. “People that enter our Air Force are the sons and daughters of America and they responded magnificently to entering and they have responded unbelievably in staying. We’re still getting the best cream of society that we can find for our United States Air Force.” Chief Airey agrees.

“I get reports from Afghanistan and Iraq about the young men and women and what they’re doing and I’m just proud of what I hear,” added Chief Airey. “We have stepped up to the challenge and we’re doing it magnificently.”

In addition to Chiefs Airey and Parish, former Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Frederick J. Finch visited workcenters Aug. 25 and met with Airmen.