SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) – August 31, 2015 — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addressed Airmen about the importance of leadership during the 2015 Air Force Sergeants Association Professional Airmen’s Conference in San Antonio Aug. 26.
He specifically spoke about what it takes to be a chief master sergeant of the Air Force and gave examples of leadership by past and present chief master sergeants of the Air Force.
“It’s only appropriate since we are at an AFSA conference, that we remind ourselves that we are in the presence of some legendary Air Force sergeants right now,” said Welsh, referring to the former chief master sergeants of the Air Force in attendance. “These are amazing men, people who have truly answered their nations call and took their oath seriously.”
During the conference, the general spoke of how the chiefs had inspired generations of Airmen and those still to come.
“We really should treasure these heroes while we still have them,” he said. “These men are truly second to none. They influence every Airman in this great Air Force and are an incredible band of brothers.”
Welsh later asked, what makes a chief master sergeant of the Air Force? He continued by explaining to the audience the answer in his own words.
“A lot of people think you’re a great chief because you are a chief master sergeant of the Air Force; it’s actually the other way around, you become chief master sergeant of the Air Force because you are a great chief,” he said. “That’s something all of our younger enlisted need to keep in mind.”
Welsh said he believes that the chief master sergeant of the Air Force has to have unyielding integrity, be tireless in their service to Airmen and their families and have enduring excellence in everything they do, summing up the Air Force’s core values.
“We try to define what a chief master sergeant of the Air Force is with one word but that is impossible because they are all different and unique,” he continued. “I believe in order to be the chief master sergeant of the Air Force, you have to be passionate about the Air Force and its Airmen; you have to have an unbelievable amount of pride in yourself; you have to have near perfect performance over your course of your career.”
The AFSA event had Welsh thinking about the future of the Air Force and who would be the next chief master sergeants of the Air Force.
“Don’t worry Chief (Cody), you’re not going anywhere anytime soon,” Welsh said jokingly. “But remember, being chief master sergeant of the Air Force has nothing to do with race, gender or background, it only has to do with leadership. My question to those considering following that path is, are you fit to carry the sword?”
The AFSA’s mission is to advocate improved quality of life and economic fairness that will support the well-being of the total force enlisted personnel and their families, to elected and military leaders. They hosted this year’s conference for Airmen to receive a senior leadership perspective and for attendees to ask questions about the direction of the Air Force and its future.