CMSAF spends day with JBA Airmen

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Tammie Moore
  • Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs
The 17th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force met with Airmen here to thank them for their contributions to the mission and to personally answer questions about Air Force issues March 23.

"Everybody is working hard; there is a lot going on," said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody. "There is never a lack of something to do, but it's important we take advantage of any opportunity we have to come together. It's important we engage in a dialogue that you want to talk about. I will listen to everything you have to say."

During his visit, Cody held three small breakout question and answer sessions with Airmen, many of whom wanted to learn more about the new feedback process and rating system.

Senior Airman Nila Curry, 744th Communication Squadron executive assistant, expressed concern that the limited number of top ratings could create a cut-throat environment.

"Team work is a big part of what we do," Cody said. "No one Airman will ever be better than the team. If a person does what you described, they just helped us determine who isn't the top performer. The person who can't work together doesn't understand that while your individual effort is important, you are based on merit and the good you do for our Air Force. If you do things at the cost of everybody else you are not the person we need on our team."

Cody expanded on this, stating that the new feedback system requires more meaningful and purposeful conversations with Airmen.

"I never improved in my entire career when someone said 'Sergeant Cody you are great,'" he said. "Real improvement comes in your life and career when people give you constructive feedback, when you learn something about yourself. Once you internalize that and make the right steps to move forward you actually do get better. You want (this kind of feedback) as often as you can get it; it's how you start to advance."

Cody also offered advice to Airmen on career progression.

"Don't complicate it," he said. "Do your best every day. We can't ask any more than that. Continue to work hard and stay focused on the mission."

Cody acknowledged the anxiety Airmen have felt during the last two years going through sequestration and force management initiatives.

"We grew up with a sense of stability and this idea that as long as we're working hard we're going to have a job and will be ok," he said. "But over the last two years, the government shut down and we've gone through force management; we've had some significant things to work through. It creates anxiety and stress in a way that is not healthy given the fact that we don't hit the pause button and work through the challenges. From where I stand and what I see, you all are doing the best you can possibly do given the constrained environment we find ourselves in today. It's important for you to know we appreciate you and what you do for our Air Force."

As Cody visited various duty sections meeting with AFDW Airmen, he continued to stress his appreciation of each person and the support their families provide.

"I appreciate what you do every day and your families who support you," Cody said. "Make sure you thank them. They are the ones who are there for you no matter what; it's important that they realize how critical they are."