(Via Ho’okele News)
Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez
15th Wing Public Affairs
Before attending the Pacific Air Forces 67th Birthday Ball as the special guest speaker on Sept. 13, Chief Master Sgt. (Air Force ret.) James C. Binnicker, the ninth chief master sergeant of the Air Force, spent several days touring PACAF and the 15th Wing to speak with Airmen about past and present Air Force topics.
Binnicker, now the president and chief executive officer of the Air Force Enlisted Village, spoke about a variety of issues including force shaping, service traditions, workplace equality and changes in the Air Force since his retirement in 1990.
While discussing force shaping in the Air Force, Binnicker stressed the importance of working smarter with fewer people.
“You often hear people say, ‘do more with less,’ but we know that doesn’t work,” he said. “You should be working smarter with less, and we’ll be able to do that with technology and smarter, more capable Airmen.”
Binnicker said that while the Air Force has fluctuated in numbers many times in the past, this time is unprecedented due to fiscal constraints and the high number of global operations Airmen are supporting.
“I wish I can tell you things will be okay and you will have a job, but this time that’s not the case,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for you to do your absolute best every day and work hard.”
The chief was able to interact with Airmen in their work areas, including C-17 operations at the 535th Airlift Squadron, the 15th Maintenance Group, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) headquarters, and the 735th Air Mobility Squadron, to name a few. Binnicker also hosted a junior enlisted call at Hollister Auditorium that was hosted by the Airman’s Council and Hawaii 5/6 Council.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to hear Chief [Binnicker] talk during the enlisted call,” said Staff Sgt. Nichole Rush, 15th Comptroller Squadron and enlisted call attendee. “He was funny, informative, and made the audience comfortable with asking important questions.”
A highlight of Binnicker’s tour was a visit to a facility named in his honor: the James C. Binnicker Professional Military Education Center. He was able to interact with students as well as staff.
“First of all, thank you for all you do,” Binnicker said to the PME Center staff. “You have such an important job in the Air Force, teaching our Airmen the skills and knowledge they need to know in order to succeed. That’s a lot of responsibility, and I know you will do a great job preparing them for their careers.”
Another hot topic during his tour was the upcoming changes to the enlisted evaluation system. Binnicker said the new system will be better than the current one because it will put more emphasis on job performance and allow a more accurate, less “inflated” evaluation.
“It’s important for supervisors to be honest with their subordinates during their evaluation and rate them fairly and accurately. That’s how this new system will be successful,” Binnicker said.
Also during his visit, Binnicker met with key base leaders including Gen. “Hawk” Carlisle, PACAF commander; Chief Master Sgt. Buddy Hutchison, PACAF command chief; Col. Randy Huiss, 15th Wing commander; and Chief Master Sgt. James Smith, 15th Wing command chief.