Military News

Thursday, April 02, 2015

PACAF honors life, service of 9th CMSAF

by Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal
Defense Media Activity - Hawaii News Bureau

4/2/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii  -- Pacific Air Forces held a remembrance ceremony to honor the life and military service of James Binnicker, ninth chief master sergeant of the Air Force, at the Binnicker Professional Military Education Center here March 31.

Binnicker passed away March 21 at the age of 76.

He served as chief master sergeant of the Air Force from July 1, 1986, until his retirement on Aug. 1, 1990. During his tenure, Binnicker worked toward the implementation of the Enlisted Performance Report performance feedback system and worked toward getting more master sergeants admitted into the Senior NCO Academy.

Chief Master Sgt. Harold Hutchison, Pacific Air Forces command chief master sergeant, spoke at the remembrance ceremony.

"We pause to remember and honor Chief Binnicker today," Hutchison said. "He was a man who was recognized by so many as a leader, mentor, friend and one who dedicated his life to others. We honor the chief because he made a difference in all the ways that really matter in this lifetime."

After his retirement, Binnicker continued to serve the enlisted force by mentoring airmen attending Airman Leadership School at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Binnicker also helped provide homes to retired enlisted couples, surviving spouses and military family members as part of the Air Force Enlisted Village.

"His service to our great force didn't end when he retired," Hutchison said. "He could have easily rested on his laurels, sat back in his chair and reminisced on all of his accomplishments. But no, that wasn't Chief Binnicker. After generations of taking care of active duty, Guard and Reserve, he took on the enormous responsibility of caring for and looking after our extended air force family when he became the CEO of our enlisted village."

The PME Center was dedicated in honor of Binnicker in 2012 and Tech. Sgt. John Robertson, 15th Wing Binnicker PME Center Airman Leadership School and NCO Academy instructor, remembers the experience of meeting him for the first time.

"That was a real awesome experience," Robertson said. "That was the first time I had the opportunity to meet him and it was evident of his passion for Airmen. He's a big presence. Some of the speakers today talked about it. He was very candid. He had a lot of experience, job knowledge and a ton of intellect to back up what he told you. It was very intimidating to meet him for the first time but, at the same time, I tried to soak up all that knowledge and learn from it."

Senior Airman Kyle Smith, ALS Class 15-B student, hopes to emulate Binnicker's example during his Air Force career.

"Chief was all about knowing his Airmen and caring for them," Smith said. "I think that's the greatest example for Airmen today to follow; caring for one another, being wingmen and being the best Airman that they can be. It is a privilege and honor to be here today and to show him the respect he deserves."

Hutchison offered a quote from Binnicker to end his speech, followed by the retiring of the colors during the events retreat ceremony.

"A few years ago someone asked the chief how he wanted to be remembered," Hutchison said. "After he sat there for a moment and collected his thoughts, he answered, 'That I did my best. I hope that most people would say the same thing, and that's all you can ask of anybody. That's all the country can ask of you. That you did your best.'"

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