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NEWS | May 16, 2023

CMSAF challenges Airmen to ‘make a difference’

By Airman 1st Class Katie McKee 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass encouraged Airmen to “make our Air Force better” during a visit to Team Sheppard May 8-9.

“I need you to make a difference in your organization and make a difference in our Air Force,” said Bass. “Be well-aware of this time you’re serving and make our Air Force better, especially in a time like this where we have a pacing challenge such as China. It’s going to be you who helps us make sure that we’re going to be the Air Force that our nation needs.”

Bass took the opportunity to address Sheppard’s unique audience – Airmen in training. She urged them to stay focused and maintain their readiness, and reiterated the need for continued investment in training and technology.

After speaking at the Air Force’s largest non-commissioned officer academy, Bass held a permanent party all-call where she emphasized priorities like pay and compensation, improvements to healthcare, and recruiting and retaining our force.

“When I look at those who have stripes on, we have the most educated and talented enlisted force in history,” said Bass. “We are pushing really hard for a targeted pay raise for the force.”

Bass then took questions from Airmen about uniform and grooming standards, the multi-capable airman concept and the Exceptional Family Member Program.

Throughout her visit, the chief focused on the importance of beating our pacing threat in three warfighting domains of information, cyber and space.

“There is a sense of urgency across the nation that I’ve never seen before and it’s focused on our pacing challenge, the most sophisticated nation that we have to contend with and that’s China,” Bass said. “We are focusing on the strong relationships that we have with our partner nations to be there for them and train alongside them, so that they know they can count on the United States.”

Bass spoke about seeing more change in the next four to six years than we’ve seen in the last 30 years.

“What got us here before is not going to be what gets us there in the future. That is what led Gen. Brown to pin his strategic approach of accelerate change or lose,” Bass said. “While we appreciate the last 75 years of being a dominant Air Force, a strong Air Force, that is not going to assure us victory and dominance into the future."

Throughout her visit, she engaged with multiple squadrons and agencies across Sheppard to see firsthand how they’re modernizing classrooms, improving the quality of training and impacting the lives of students.