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CMSAF visits Offutt

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Nebraska --

Offutt Air Force Base welcomed Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright for a visit from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1.

The visit included a breakfast with first sergeants, serving as the presiding official for a senior NCO induction ceremony and visiting the James M. McCoy Airman Leadership School, where he met with current ALS students and the school’s namesake, retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James M. McCoy.

Wright spoke with multiple individuals at Offutt who work directly with the wing’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, learning about the mission and its global importance.

Wright said he did not see that mission slowing down anytime soon.

“I think the operations tempo will stay pretty steady for a while,” he said. “Now, as we continue to invest in what we consider game-changing technology, and as we increase the capabilities of some of our unmanned ISR systems, then maybe the ops tempo for places like Offutt and the 55th Wing may decrease. But right now, very vital assets play a huge role in what we do protecting our allies, protecting our nation and ensuring our national security. So we’ll continue to use those assets for the foreseeable future.”

Staff Sgt. Lindsi, a linguist with the 97th Intelligence Squadron, said Wright’s visit was a morale boost. She especially appreciated his evaluation of the 55th Wing’s ISR mission.

“For him to speak so highly of such a vital role in our overall mission was like, ‘Yeah, you know, we are really important,’” she said. “The ISR program is such an important factor when it comes to the mission. It’s like having a mirror in a poker game. We get knowledge and we can deliver that to the troops on the ground who really need it. It’s a step in front of our adversaries, and without it, I don’t think the mission would run as smoothly as it does.”

In line with securing the nation’s future, Wright sympathized with those who have been disturbed by recent politics in the United States.

“This is something we all struggle with, even at the highest levels,” he said. “We certainly have responsibilities as Airmen that we need to maintain that sometimes differ from our personal opinions, whether it’s politics or social issues. I just ask every Airman that you maintain the balance and maintain that line and understand your role as an Airman 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Charlottesville was certainly one that I believe we all struggled a bit with. I think developing a better understanding, first and foremost, about what the issues are and how they affect all of us as individuals and how they affect all of us as an Air Force is a good first step.”

Wright also spoke about the recent changes announced by Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, intended to significantly reduce unnecessary Air Force instructions over the next 24 months.

“I think this will help the Air Force tremendously,” Wright said. “I think it will unleash our Airmen. We go out and we recruit and we retain the best and brightest Airmen that America has to offer. I think they’re chomping at the bit to find new, more efficient ways to do things that ultimately will help us become a more lethal, more efficient fighting force. I think allowing our Airmen and our commanders the freedom and the maneuverability to get things done the best way they know how, without the restrictive nature of some of our AFIs, is going to be great for the Air Force.”

Freedom from some previously restrictive guidelines is a recurring theme in in Wright’s vision. He hopes his changes to developmental special duty assignment requirements will level the playing field between the varied assignments. 

“The bottom line is, we have to get the right individuals at the right time with the right skill sets in those jobs,” he said. “I certainly didn’t get why some special duties had a certain physical training requirement and others had a different physical training requirement. I think if you can score a 75 to be a command chief or the chief master sergeant of the Air Force, you can score a 75 to be any of those others.”

Wright said he appreciated the time he was able to spend at Offutt.

“Thank you to the 55th Wing for the hospitality,” he said. “Thank you for allowing me and my team to come into your wing and get a glimpse of all the great things your Airmen are doing, both from a mission and a support standpoint.”