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.
The Air Force’s top enlisted Airman, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody, along with top enlisted members of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, testified April 9 before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on personnel, about the impact budget decisions have on the enlisted force.
“America’s Airmen continue to generate the greatest Air Force the world has ever known,” Cody said. “They are innovative, dedicated and passionate men and women who understand freedom doesn’t come without a cost. It must be fought for and won.”
Cody, along with the other services’ enlisted leaders, was a member of a two-panel hearing, examining the active, Guard, Reserve and civilian programs in review of the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2015 and the Future Years Defense Program.
Top personnel leaders from all services comprised the first panel, while the enlisted force was represented by the second. All leaders spoke with one message – people are the most important asset each service possesses.
As she lay on the cold metal table in an operating room in Virginia, the profoundness of what she was about to do began to set in. Body shaking and vision narrowing, it dawned on her that in a few short hours she will have given her mother something priceless, something that had been slowly slipping away. She was giving her mother her life back.
It was 2012 when Airman 1st Class Amber Davenport, a 5th Bomb Wing knowledge operations manager here, received troubling news – her mother was very sick. Davenport’s mother, Terrish Patterson, had Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, a kidney disease that causes the tissue to harden and ultimately leads to kidney failure.
The 20-year-old Airman was in shock. Davenport was fresh out of basic military training and knew something was wrong, but her mother had been downplaying the severity of her condition for months. The time had come for Davenport learned that without a kidney transplant, her mother’s life would be cut short.
“I was asking all the questions in the world … I didn’t know what to do,” Davenport said. “I wanted to be upset, but she was sick, so I wanted to do whatever I could to help.”
The fiscal and security challenges triggered by budgetary constraints are posing problems for Air Force strategy, the service’s secretary told the Senate Armed Services Committee April 10.
Deborah Lee James said tomorrow’s Air Force requires investing in the right technologies and platforms to be prepared to operate in a volatile and unpredictable world, “in which we cannot take for granted that we will continue to command the skies and … space.”
The fiscal year 2015 budget request calls for fully funding flying hours and other high-priority readiness issues, she said, adding that Air Force readiness has “taken a hit over time,” and today is not where it should be.
“If our proposal is approved, we will see gradual improvements in full-spectrum readiness over time,” she said. “This will put us on the right path, particularly to … operate in a contested environment.”
At the same time, James said, the service must invest now so it isn’t beaten by potential adversaries 10 to 15 years from now, and that every dollar is critical.
Academy football players recently participated in a new training initiative intended to help them become better leaders on and off the field and to take a stand against sexual assault.
Approximately 60 cadets, football coaches and staff participated in the Mentor in Violence Prevention program April 3 and 4 where MVP facilitators allowed participants to share personal stories and dialogue on key issues concerning rape, battery and sexual harassment.
“We selected the football team to receive the training because football is our largest and most recognizable program,” said Dr. Hans Mueh, the Academy’s athletic director. “We hope they will continue to be leaders in the Cadet Wing with this training and be an example for other programs and cadets to follow. We want to take a very aggressive approach to help prevent violent actions and reactions, and using our most recognizable program seemed to be a great place to start. In addition, we’re really pushing respect for others in the athletic department.”