AMC command chief visits Dover Team

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman James Bolinger
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Barron Jr., Air Mobility Command, command chief, spent two days with Dover's Airmen Sept. 6 and 7. 

The chief spent much of his time talking to Airmen and taking tours of facilities here.
"I see your commander's motto and I immediately sense an attitude; that is a reflection of the leadership that we have here," said Chief Barron. "It doesn't matter if (Dover's members) are active duty, Guard, Reserve or civil service employees, you can tell that they are really doing the mission and having fun." 

The chief saw Dover's mission focus in detail during his visit, in particular the statement, "Return America's fallen heroes with dignity, honor and respect." 

"Although it is one of the most discouraging sights to see, it is encouraging to know we are doing it with so much dignity," he said. "That we are giving those fallen heroes the honor they deserve." 

Honoring the Air Force and our heroes is something all Airmen will be doing Saturday at the Air Force Ball, and the chief is coming back to Dover with General McNabb to attend the event, he said. 

"I encourage people to take advantage of the opportunity to attend the Air Force Ball," said the chief. "There is a lot of heritage and a lot of dignity that goes into these birthday celebrations for our Air Force. 

"Now more than ever it is important that people get out and spend time with each other and spread a little camaraderie," said Chief Barron. "I am excited about attending the Air Force Ball and celebrating with (Team Dover)." 

While the Air Force Ball might be an immediate thought in the minds of many here, others are worried that force shaping initiatives will make work loads heavier. 

"We in AMC, like everybody else (in the Air Force), are going to be doing the same mission we do today with less people," said the chief. "So we have to create ways we can do that without one, hurting our people and their families, and two, ruining our ability to serve our country!" 

One way to support those goals is to modernize Air Force equipment, he said, adding that the fleet is the oldest it's ever been. 

"By modernizing and replacing old equipment, we can improve our capability, and perform the same mission we are doing today with fewer people," he said. 

One piece of new equipment coming to Dover is the C-17 Globemaster III. 

"This is the only Air Force base we have left with only C-5s," said Chief Barron. "Having C-17s here will increase our capability to move things to places we couldn't move them before." 

The C-17 is not the only new piece of equipment Dover's Airmen will be seeing in the future. The Air Battle Uniform will be replacing the current Battle Dress Uniform as early as January 2007, said the chief. 

"We are hoping (the ABU) will be hitting our military clothing sales in January," said Chief Barron. "However, we don't know the quantities or sizes we will receive initially."
It is a uniform that is long overdue and was designed with the current Air Force mission in mind, said the chief. 

"The uniform Airmen are wearing today, although it has lasted and suited its purpose, is long past its life span," he said. "It is just not functional for the mission we do as Expeditionary Airmen. The new one will be more functional, easier to maintain and more comfortable." 

Other uniform changes affecting Airmen are the circle U.S. insignia and the shoulder boards on the enlisted service uniform. 

"Our chief of staff of the Air Force, and I am a firm believer as well, is trying to bring a little bit of heritage back into our uniform," said Chief Barron. "Our enlisted folks, up until a few of years ago, always wore a circle around the U.S. emblem and we are trying to get back to that tradition." 

The circle around the U.S. emblem will be mandatory Jan. 1, 2007. 

The use of shoulder boards by senior NCOs will discontinue Oct. 1, he said. Shoulder boards were designed to easily distinguish senior NCOs from the junior ranks when in service uniform. Now that the master sergeant stripe is on top with the senior and chief stripes there is no need for the shoulder board. 

"I am proud of our stripes," said the chief. "I think we should be proud to wear them on our sleeves." 

The chief thanked Dover's Airmen for their sacrifices while deployed, as well as their willingness to do their duty no matter what the circumstances. 

"It never ceases to amaze me the quality of people that we have serving in our Air Force," said the chief. "We can never thank you all enough for the sacrifices you and your families make everyday. I can do nothing but salute all of you for keeping our country free."