by Senior Airman Brittain Crolley
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
3/31/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James C. Binnicker said years ago that he wanted to be remembered for always doing his best. He did so, not by achieving the Air Force's highest enlisted rank, but by leaving the service in a better place than when he found it.
With his recent passing, the James C. Binnicker Airman Leadership School at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, held a remembrance ceremony to honor his life, career and achievements, March 27.
"Chief Binnicker built the pillars that we stand upon now," said Tech. Sgt. Sandi Townson, 4th Force Support Squadron ALS instructor. "He served the Air Force for 33 years and even though he retired, he still continued to serve. He was dedicated not only to this nation, but the Air Force as well."
Binnicker's long-tenured career included a stint at Seymour Johnson AFB, where he served as the base sergeant major and the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing's first senior enlisted advisor. He stood as a strong advocate for enlisted issues throughout his career.
As CMSAF, he directed policy that transitioned the Air Force from the Airman Performance Report to the Enlisted Performance Report, which allowed for a better evaluation of an Airman's aptitude and potential, according to Townson. He also developed the feedback system to help ensure the Air Force retained its best people.
"Chief Binnicker laid the bedrock for some of the things that we stand for in the Air Force," said Master Sgt. Jeffrey Stoner, 4th FSS ALS commandant. "During our ALS classes, we spend two days teaching these soon-to-be supervisors how to write EPRs and give their Airmen feedback. Being able to provide that praise and criticism is key to developing our future force."
While his impact on the Air Force has lasted for decades after his retirement, his impression on Airmen will be everlasting through the Air Force Enlisted Village. As president and CEO of the non-profit charity organization, Binnicker helped countless surviving spouses of Air Force service members find quality homes and navigate through financial hardships.
For all the contributions Binnicker made in his career and retirement, the 4th Fighter Wing dedicated the Airman Leadership School in his namesake in 2001.
"It's truly an honor to have our building named after such an inspirational leader," Stoner said. "Through standing on his shoulders, we're able to see the things that he's done and continue to evolve."
Evolution is what kept Binnicker at his best, Stoner added. He embraced change and did everything in his power to make his Airmen's lives better, whether he was a young Airman, a veteran supervisor or the CMSAF.
"The stories that he would tell, the joy in his eyes, and the passion in his voice was a true testament that he was very caring and very devoted, not only as an Airman, but as a human being," said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Craver, 4th FW command chief. "We certainly lost a true legend."