Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
Air Force Secretary Deborah James shared her observations from a visit with Airmen across the ICBM community following revelations of a proficiency-test cheating scandal last month at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.
Speaking to an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, James discussed her visits to bases in Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana and Louisiana.
“I received command briefs, I took tours, [and] I learned about the mission, firsthand,” she said. “And very importantly, I talked directly to Airmen.”
Using town hall meetings and focus group environments, James said, she spoke to missileers, security forces, maintenance, support and facilities personnel — all without their commanders or any note-takers present.
“I got a microcosm of all the different types of teammates,” she said. “And what I learned in all of these settings was actually very enlightening.”
Based on these discussions, James said, she was able to come up with seven areas that she said will be addressed as part of the action plan the Air Force owes to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel within 60 days.”
Air Force Personnel officials have implemented a live chat capability on the myPers website to allow real-time communication between Airmen and personnel specialists.
Launched in 2012, myPers represents a shift from primarily face-to-face personnel interaction to a process that enables Airmen to handle their personnel transactions on demand and 24/7, from a military or personal computer using a common access card or login identification and password. In 2013, AFPC added the chat feature to ensure the tools available to Airmen keep pace with emerging commercial technologies.
MyPers provides direct online access to reliable, integrated, secure information and answers, enhancing an Airman’s ability to monitor and manage personnel information, said 2nd Lt. Zachary Newman, the AFPC Transitions Branch support officer.
“The chat feature gives Airmen a fast and convenient way to get answers directly from subject matter experts on specific questions that may not be available on the website,” he said.
It’s deep into flu season, and public health officials continue to work to spread the word about the importance of getting the flu shot, especially in light of a recent increase in a particularly severe flu strain affecting young adults.
A recent World Health Organization advisory indicated that flu activity remains high across North America, according to Lt. Col. Susan Walker, chief nurse executive for the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Medical Group.
“The majority of what they are seeing out there is H1N1,” Walker said of the flu strain that is famous for causing severe illness and in some cases, death – even amongst otherwise healthy young adults. “The vaccine we are using this season provides protection against the Influenza A- H1N1 flu strain.”
Walker, a traditional Guard member, is somewhat of an expert in and out of uniform; when not helping to manage health care operations here, she teaches and assesses military immunization programs in her civilian role as an immunization healthcare specialist.
Another expert is Senior Master Sgt. Jessica Settle, a Human Resources Advisor with the 131st Bomb Wing who works as a planner for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Key Air Force leaders, including the service’s top uniformed members, attended a recent chief orientation seminar here Feb. 3-7.
The seminar aimed to prepare the future chief master sergeants and those who recently pinned on their final stripe for the responsibility that comes with the new rank.
“You should feel proud about this accomplishment,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody. “People are always going to be looking at you on this path. They need to see you moving the organization forward in a meaningful way.”
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III stressed the impact a chief master sergeant can have on everyone they come into contact with.
“You are the most important conversation in your Airman’s day,” Welsh said. “They don’t accidently talk to you. When they come to talk to you they have an issue. It might not be a major issue to you, but to that Airman it is.”
Welsh reminded the new chiefs leaders that they need to get to know their Airmen.