MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - A smaller and more stressed Air Force will soon reshape itself to include changes in developmental duties, evaluations and promotions that can create anxiety for all ranks, said the Air Force's top enlisted leader today.
"As we get through these turbulent times, when we find our new normal in the coming years, you will lead us and you will lead our Airmen into that future," said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody to hundreds of recent Noncommissioned Officer Academy and Airman Leadership School graduates.
Cody visited the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center here April 3 as the keynote speaker during the combined graduation.
NCOA and ALS are two of the Air Force's primary enlisted leadership schools.
Cody told the graduates their leadership should rally Airmen around why the Air Force evolves and why it moves forward in ways to remain the "world's greatest Air Force."
"That is part of your charge as leaders as Airmen in our Air Force," said Cody.
In his remarks Cody noted what may have been some challenging course work at the TEC.
We are pushing you here, we are stretching you, and really digging you in to these institutional competencies that are so important to who we are as an Air Force and how you will be able to lead, said Cody.
"This is a significant milestone in your career," said Cody.
Cody also spoke about individual leaders and their reliance on the people they are entrusted to lead.
"It's only there that we are able to accomplish what we accomplish as an Air Force, as a nation: it's the ability of the team to do what we need to do," said Cody.
Although training and technical abilities prepare Airmen for their mission, Cody said that the leadership taught here is needed to bring groups together to accomplish that mission.
Cody also shared his thoughts on the Air Force Core Values as "the very price of admission in the Air Force," and he challenged graduates to live and own them.
"They are the very fabric of who we are," said Cody. "Each and every one of us has a fundamental responsibility to know that and to be who we are."
Cody toured the TEC's classrooms and support facilities as well as its HD television broadcast studio: TEC TV. He also met a day earlier here with regional Air Force recruiters and with representatives from the base's 134th Air Refueling Wing.
"We thank you for taking the time to spend with our class," said Tech. Sgt. Hector Vazquez, NCO academy's class leader, who presented Cody with a class donation to the Air Force's Heritage Hall in his name.
Cody visited the TEC before, as the command chief master sergeant for the Air Education and Training Command. This was his first visit as the Air Force's top ranked enlisted Airman.