Sunday, September 13, 2009

Muncy: Air Guardsmen need to tell the world ‘who we are’

Left: Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Muncy.

The Air National Guard’s highest ranking enlisted person emphasized the contributions of National Guardsmen in shaping the foundation of the United States during his presentation at the National Guard Association of the United States conference in Nashville, Sept. 13.

Command Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Muncy, who was appointed as the Command Chief of the Air National Guard in late February 2009, said first and foremost, airmen have a responsibility to the people of the United States.

“When you wear those ABUs, and you cover up the ‘Air Force’, what remains is what we raised our hand and swore to,” Muncy said.

He encouraged leadership to get to know those in their enlisted ranks who display the potential for leadership.

“Get to know your airmen,” he said. “So we can shape them as future officers and leaders.”

Muncy said as budgets throughout the Air Force continue to shrink, educating the total force about the importance of the Air Guard’s role continues to shrink proportionately.

As one example, he cited the Air Guard-specific instruction at the Air Force Senior NCO Academy. During the 18-week instruction, only one hour is devoted to telling the Air National Guard story. The Air Force recently proposed cutting the hour-long session out of their NCOA completely, he said.

“We get one hour to tell our story,” Muncy said. “And they want to take that away too.”

He believes this de-emphasis on the importance of Air Guard missions continue to perpetuate misconceptions about the Air National Guard.

"I talk to people in the Air Force who still think Air Guardsmen buy their uniforms from military surplus stores,” he joked.

"In 2009, with your Air Guardsmen busting their buns throughout the world, I’m going to hammer the Air Force so they know who we are," he said. We don’t need to blend, we need to tell them who the Air National Guard is."

Muncy believes there is another misperception that exists inside and outside the Air Guard in which people think airmen join the organization solely because of the flying missions. He said this couldn’t be further from the truth.

"If you think the only reason your airmen raise their right hand and swear to defend the nation and the constitution because of those 'fast movers' on the flightline, then you’ve lost it," he said.

"They come to serve. Your airmen are here to serve your state and nation," he said.

Muncy also emphasized the Hometown Hero Salute program, which is mirrored after the Army National Guard, and has been endorsed by Air National Guard leadership.

"If you have to ask why we highlight our airmen and their families, and all their accomplishments, then you missed the bus," he said. "We have got to take care of our folks."

He underscored the number of suicides during the 2009 calendar year. Since January, there have been 12 documented suicides throughout the Air National Guard.

“That is twelve too many," he said.

“Talk to your airmen,” Muncy continued. “They’re the single most important thing you have.”

Keeping with the times, Muncy encouraged getting enlisted leadership involved in innovative ways to communicate with their younger airmen. He suggested text messaging as a way to reach out to them.

“Get your first sergeants into texting,” he said. “Your young airmen won’t answer the phone when you call them, but they will answer a text message.”

Some other important updates for airmen from Muncy:

- Updated fitness testing requirements have been posted to the Air Force Portal. They include; more incremental run time requirements, waist measurements more realistic with normal body types, consistent minimum requirements established in all categories.

- The ANG has a seat in the discussion for new Airman’s Battle Uniform: Lighter-weight ABU top proposed, distribution of ABUs throughout ANG a top priority, mix-and-match of older Gortex jacket okayed from leadership pending production and distribution of ABU Gortex.

- Heritage Jacket design is currently on hold.

- Enlisted Force Structure Booklet distributed. Covers duties and responsibilities, and Air Force Instruction. The booklet will be highlighted at the Enlisted Leadership Symposium.

Muncy will also speak at the Enlisted Leadership Symposium in Dallas, Texas, scheduled for Nov. 2-6.


Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
National Guard Bureau Public Affairs

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