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PACAF command chief master sergeant says 'tell AF story'

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The Pacific Air Forces highest enlisted Airman held two enlisted calls Monday with two objectives - let Airmen know what the Air Force's priorities are and encourage them to tell the Air Force story.

"There are three priorities in the Air Force and what I find as I travel around is that our young Airmen haven't been told what the Air Force priorities are," said Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Bishop, PACAF command chief master sergeant. "We have a strategic communication game plan now where we have one message, many voices. We need to start telling the Air Force story."

The chief asked many of the Airmen in the first enlisted call if they knew what the priorities are in order. The audience came up with several answers; some very close, before the chief told the E-1 to E-6 audience what the priorities are and why.

"Our No. 1 priority is winning the Global War on Terrorism," said the chief. "This has to be an away game. We do not want to play this game on U.S. territory ever again."

The chief also pointed out that while only 14 percent of the Air Force is deployed to Southwest Asia, PACAF Airmen are just as engaged with the enemy right here at home.

"We have Airmen being shot at in this AOR (area of responsibility)," he said. "We have Airmen engaged in winning that war today, right here. You need to tell people that."

Chief Bishop also stressed how important it is that Airmen pass the word that the Air Force is engaged 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and around the world because of the Air Force's capability of Global Reach, Global Power.

"We don't want to play in it, we don't want to break even, we want to win," Chief Bishop said.

The second priority is taking care of our Airmen. The Air Force is focused on two groups, said Chief Bishop. The first are the 40,000 Airmen who will be released from duty during the drawdown over the next five years.

"We have a lot of Airmen that come in and some don't make it," he said. "Some are asked to leave our Air Force. We owe them a debt of gratitude. They may not have been able to make it, but at least they stood up, volunteered and tried."

The second group are Airmen who are staying and must find a way to do more with less.
"As we drawdown, the workload is not going to go down as fast as the bodies do," said the chief. "You will do a lot more tomorrow than we did yesterday. With technology, with leaner processes, with AFSO-21 (Air Force Smart Operations), we can do smarter things tomorrow than we did yesterday. We need to take care of you with pay and compensation, benefits, training, whatever the case may be."

The third priority of the Air Force is recapitalizing the fleet. The chief spoke briefly about the aging inventory before talking about new technology, such as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 joint strike fighter and comparing the two inventories. He discussed how effective the F-15 Eagle has been in combat and how much more capability the F-35 will bring to maintaining air superiority in the future.

"For 58 years we have maintained air superiority," said Chief Bishop. "The next generation fighters need to ensure we keep that record."

Before opening the floor for questions, the chief concluded his briefing by stating the Global War on Terrorism is not the Army's fight and the Air Force is not doing the Army's job by supplementing its Soldiers in Southwest Asia.

"We're not doing the Army's job," said Chief Bishop. "We're doing the job we need to do. We're doing it from 40,000 feet."

The chief took a few minutes to answer questions about more combat skills training, when the United States would see victory on the Global War on Terrorism, storing equipment in the area of responsibility versus carrying it in, and the length of deployments. Chief Bishop thanked everyone for their service and the sacrifices they make every day before bidding everyone a happy holiday season.

"I want to leave you with two things," he said. "First, happy holidays. I truly wish you the very best. I hope you will take time, especially those of you who are deploying, take time to be with your friends and family. That includes your Air Force family. The second part of that, for those of you who are not deploying, even if they are not in your squadron, reach out to their families that are left behind," said the chief. "Help take care them."