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Andersen first stop on CMSAF’s PACAF tour

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chris Powell
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Team Andersen had the privilege of being the first Pacific Air Force base to play host to Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley during his PACAF tour March 18 and 19.

During his visit to Andersen, Chief McKinley visited several sites, hosted an enlisted call and met Andersen's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

While the landscape of Andersen tends to change by the day due to the upsurge in construction, Chief McKinley is still familiar with the wing from his tenure as the PACAF command chief master sergeant from March 2005 to June 2006.

Chief McKinley took the time out of his schedule to talk to The Pacific Edge.

The Pacific Edge: How has Andersen changed since you were the PACAF command chief master sergeant?
Chief McKinley: I can tell you at Andersen the amount of construction and things going on here is tremendous. Andersen is just going to continue to be a very strategic location for the success of the United States of America.

The Pacific Edge: In a few months, it will be your second year as the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. What goals have you set, both personal and for the greater Air Force, that have been accomplished, and what are you still hoping to accomplish during your term?
Chief McKinley: Well, I don't set personal goals. My goals mirror the Air Force priorities. Number one - win the War on Terrorism, continue to take care of and develop our Airmen and their families, and help to recapitalize and modernize. So I don't do things for the sake of Rod McKinley. I do things for the sake of our Airmen and the mission.

There are a lot of things I ought to continue to make sure we do, like give our Airmen an opportunity to get an education, continue with the good quality of life and standards that we've had for a long period of time and to continue to improve the capability of the United States Air Force.

I have to say the quality of our Airmen today is the best I've ever seen in my Air Force career. They continue to do amazing things, and even though we're smaller than we have been since after World War II, the capability of the Air Force today is amazing.
We have a lot of challenges ahead of us, and I want to make sure as we face all these challenges in the future that we continue to properly organize, train and equip our Airmen to go out and face these challenges and tell them how much we appreciate them.

The Pacific Edge: In your last "Perspective" article, you wrote at length about Air Force heritage. Why do you think it's important each Airman takes an active role in learning, knowing and being proud of our heritage?
Chief McKinley: When you think about the United States Air Force, we have a tremendous heritage, and it's something that we all should be very, very proud of. Just the word "Airman" - when you go back and think about all those who sacrificed before us, when you read about the Airmen that were flying these great missions and that we lost 52,000 Airmen in World War II, it's just tremendous.
If we go back, capture and learn about this great heritage and appreciate where we came from, I think it will help us with the future and where we're going. It's really hard to think about where you're going when you don't know where you've been.

The Pacific Edge: As you know, the roles of deployed Airmen have changed dramatically in recent years as we're now augmenting the Army in some non-traditional roles. Do you see this ongoing for the foreseeable future, or can Airmen look forward to a decrease in in-lieu-of taskings?
Chief McKinley: I think we are tasked with doing some jobs that are not traditionally jobs that Airmen have done in the past, and we're doing these because there's a need. And as long as there's a need and we're tasked, we'll continue to do it.

Our Airmen are doing a fantastic job out there, and everyone who sees our Airmen in action raves about the quality of the job and Airmen that we sent forward. We're doing a great job training our Airmen before they deploy, they're doing a great job while they're there and we're very happy with the job they're doing.

I don't think it's going to end any time soon, and I think we're going to continue doing these in-lieu-of taskings for awhile. It's not about the Air Force versus the Army or the Marines, it's about the United States of America and us doing the job that is tasked. Right now, this is the tasking that we received, and we have to make sure that we properly organize and train our Airmen to go out and do this, and we'll keep doing it as long as we're tasked.

The Pacific Edge: Do you have anything else to add?
Chief McKinley: I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to come back to Andersen to meet all the great Airmen and their families. I'm very pleased with what I've seen here. I know the wing commander, command chief and a lot of the leadership very well. This base is in good hands, and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of Andersen in the future.

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