GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AFNS) --
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass visited the 319th Reconnaissance Wing to meet with the Airmen behind the RQ-4 Global Hawk intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, Feb. 11-12.
Bass prioritized discussions with Airmen in order to have crucial conversations regarding the present and future needs of the Air Force, with a focus on people, readiness and culture.
“We want to retain people who want to be part of something bigger,” Bass explained during a breakfast panel with Airmen and noncommissioned officers. “It isn’t a program that will fix our current issues, but culture.”
She provided an environment of open dialogue for Airmen to ask questions and provide feedback on Air Force policies so she may better provide insight to higher Air Force leadership when the time comes to make changes.
Airmen felt strongly about the need to reevaluate items to include the enlisted promotion system, assignment management across the force, physical testing standards and leadership qualities being taught in professional development courses.
One of her stops included the 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron, where she and Airmen discussed Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Charles Q. Brown, Jr.’s strategic approach, “Accelerate Change or Lose”. The strategic plan emphasizes the need to move forward with high-tech warfighting capabilities through collaboration within the Air Force and empowerment of Airmen.
“How do we continue to be the world’s greatest Air Force in the contested environment we have today?” Bass asked. “How do we get where we need to be in 2030 and beyond?”
Involved in that discussion was Airman First Class Valerie Cruz, 319th LRS vehicle maintenance technician, who expressed the gratitude she felt to be able to speak with the CMSAF.
“I felt like it was a nice setting to be in, just being able to have an honest conversation and be myself around her,” Cruz said.
In addition to her sit-down conversations, Bass also hosted an all-call in which she championed why it is imperative to cultivate creativity, innovate as an Air Force and improve culture to allow for modernization.
“Our adversaries will not fight a fair fight,” Bass emphasized. “They have capitalized on air and space domain, and when the whole nation looks to us in times of terror or attack, it is a non-negotiable requirement that our force needs to be prepared.”
In addition to being thankful for the open flow of strategic insight and communication from Bass to the Airmen here, Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Thuyns, 319th RW command chief, explained why it meant a lot to him that she visited.
“It’s been a goal of ours to bring Chief Bass to visit the Warriors of the North,” he said. “I’ve known her for about 10 years and to see that her humility, energy and ability to connect with Airmen is just as genuine and full of excitement today as it was then, is a true testament of her passion.”