CMSAF provides top enlisted perspective

USAF photo: Senior Airman Liliana Moreno Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley greets and speaks with the airmen of the 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron during a visit to Cannon Air Force Base on Dec. 10.

By Staff Sgt. Craig Seals

27th SOW Public Affairs

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley paid a visit to Cannon Air Force Base on Dec. 10 to meet and greet airmen and see the progress of the 27th Special Operations Wing.

“There are exciting things happening at Cannon and I wanted to see them for myself,” said Chief McKinley. “It’s pretty impressive what (airmen) have done here in the past year to get this base operational for AFSOC.”

The chief’s first stop was at the 27th Special Operations Medical Group’s base clinic. With a medical job early in the chief’s career, the medical mission at Cannon was of interest to him. “The health and wellness of airmen and their families, both physical and mental, is a top priority,” the chief said. “Not just being physically fit for PT, but also having a healthy lifestyle.”

The Air Force’s physical fitness program was a major topic when Chief McKinley spoke with airmen. “We have a bunch of airmen doing great things and being physically fit right now, but on the other hand, we also have airmen not passing the PT test and still getting top five ratings on their EPR,” he said. “We need to have some accountability in the program.”

“Ultimately, we want a more consistent fitness program. We have a good fitness program, but it could use some improvement.” Chief McKinley said.

The chief didn’t focus solely on fitness; he also addressed issues regarding uniforms. “The new heritage uniform has been put on hold until next summer,” he said. “We want to fix the problems with the current uniforms before we work on new uniform items.”

Chief McKinley indicated one large change to the PT uniform would be the material it’s made from, such as a lighter-weight, breathable fabric. Also, a new long-sleeve PT shirt will be showing up at bases around the world soon, Chief McKinley said.

The chief also addressed current personnel issues facing the Air Force after the force shaping initiatives of the past few years. “We’re now going to be adding to our end strength. This will help us out as we take on emerging missions in the nuclear enterprise, cyberspace and African Command,” he said. The Air Force is headed to an end strength of about 332,700.

Airman safety was another subject Chief McKinley addressed when speaking around the base. The Voluntary Protection Program is a program the chief is interested in seeing implemented. “I’ve done a video for VPP and I’ve been going to some of the planning meetings,” he said.

“Any program that keeps airmen safe, I’m 100 percent for it,” the chief said. “I’m about taking care of airmen with consistency, safety and fairness.”

The chief said he enjoyed his time with Cannon airmen. “It’s inspiring to be around the airmen, here at Cannon and across the Air Force,” the chief said. “I’m filled with pride to see their professionalism and expertise in their jobs,” he said. “I can tell our airmen care about what they do, and I hope they all know I care about each and every one of them.”