NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, along with Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, took time out of their base visit April 7, here, to engage Airmen in a town-hall style meeting in the Lighting Aircraft Maintenance Unit hangar.
The top Air Force leaders, accompanied by their spouses, landed at Nellis AFB April 6 and helped kick off the Air Force Wounded Warrior Team Trials during an opening ceremony April 8, at Nellis AFB’s Warrior Fitness Center.
Following the ceremony, Welsh and Cody were joined by 850 Nellis AFB Airmen beneath the newly-constructed Lightning AMU hangar where the Air Force leaders spoke on a stage flanked by two fifth generation fighters.
“We’re here really for one reason and that’s to say ‘Thank you,’” Welsh said. “To say thanks for who you are, for what you do, for how you do it — and for making us proud every day.”
Leadership was a focus of speeches given by both leaders, who emphasized the critical importance of Air Force core values in fostering the quality supervisors needed in today’s shrinking Air Force.
“The job of leaders at every level is to communicate both up and down the chain of command; it’s your job to find the things that concern your people and get them the answers they need,” Welsh said. “If your commanders aren’t getting you those answers, (do something) about it.”
Throughout the speech, Welsh and Cody highlighted their viewpoints by sharing personal experiences from their careers in the service. One of many personal stories from the CSAF told of a time when knowing an Airman under his command “pretty well” almost wasn’t enough.
“We have a lot of things going on in our Air Force right now that require you to care more,” Welsh said, stressing the importance of strong relationships between Airmen and their supervisors. “What are some signs they’re putting out that we’re missing? Why is it that they might not feel comfortable coming to you for help? It’s about people and it’s about us knowing each other better – so I ask you to take that on.”
Following their speeches, Welsh and Cody took questions directly from the Airmen in attendance. Topics discussed included retirement compensation, force management, capabilities cuts and the preservation of Air Force culture.
“We’ve got a great culture in our Air Force and we remain tied together in a meaningful and purposeful way,” Cody said.
Welsh and Cody are set to continue their visit here through April 9, taking in briefings from multiple units, meeting with senior NCOs officers and receiving an update on the F-35 Lightning II program.