Date: July 19, 2010
By Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
Wisconsin National Guard
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy detailed some of his priorities as the Air Force's top enlisted leader during a visit to Wisconsin's Volk Field Air National Guard Base and Combat Readiness Training Center July 13-14.
"Priorities for [me] are to make sure our Airmen are ready for a joint and coalition 'fight,' if you will, being a partner within that joint, coalition team," Roy said. "Obviously, the things that are done here within the training center fit right within those means."
Roy is the 19th chief master sergeant of the Air Force and ultimately oversees the enlisted Airmen of the active duty, Guard and Reserve components. He was accompanied by Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Muncy, command chief for the Air National Guard, and other Air Force enlisted leaders on the two-day trip.
The leaders were able to observe the international 2010 Patriot exercise at Volk and neighboring Fort McCoy.
"It's good for me to come out and see this [training] because it helps me when I frame things back at the Pentagon as I'm asked for advice on different things," Roy said.
Roy serves as advisor to the chief of staff and secretary of the Air Force on an enlisted force that has seen a tremendous increase in demand for contingency support overseas. He addressed what it takes to continually be an operational force.
"The fact of the matter is we're a nation at war and we've been at combat for a lot of years," Roy said. "We need to continue to keep focus on the resiliency for our Airmen and their families."
He believes a steadfast mission can be difficult on the families and can be the most misunderstood concept of what it takes to be an Airman.
"I think Americans, in general, certainly appreciate what Airmen and their families endure," Roy said. "What's difficult is for them to fully understand what types of sacrifices there are."
One sacrifice for Airmen is continually adapting to an ever-changing mission.
"It falls back to 'What is it that the warfighter, what it is that the Guard, that our local authorities need from us?' You are and will continue to see a continual shifting of resources and missions to different locations," Roy said.
The fact that Guard members are diversely skilled in their civilian careers and are capable and experienced in maintaining proficiency in their military jobs, means they have the ability to evolve into capable warriors despite the mission or task at hand, Roy said.
"We have Airman today from across the Air Force ...primarily from the Guard and Reserve that are doing some unique missions that they weren't necessarily trained to do, but they have that capability," Roy said.
According to Chief Master Sgt. James Chisholm, Wisconsin Air National Guard command chief, this is the first time a chief master sergeant of the Air Force has officially visited Wisconsin Airmen.
"This is absolutely historic, that he was able to come and see what we have to offer here," Chisholm said. Volk's CRTC provides a year round integrated training environment (airspace, facilities, equipment) for units to enhance their combat capabilities and readiness. They are only one of four CRTCs in the nation.
Roy thanked Volk's leadership for continuing the important training mission, the local community for supporting all of the Airmen and their families, and although he couldn't meet with every Airman during his stay, he expressed his gratitude and thanks to all of the Airmen of Volk Field and the 128th ACS.
"What you do is important," Roy said. "It's important for the battlefield, it's important for the other missions, like humanitarian assistance, disaster relief missions and domestic operations," Roy said.
Reflecting on his visit to Wisconsin as well as other Guard units, Roy said Air Guard members have a great recipe for success.
"The thing that is relayed to me is the pride they have in being a Guardsman," he said. "Being prideful in your unit and your component ... we want every Airman to do that."