Military News

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ninth Air Force welcomes new command chief

by Master Sgt. Latisha Cole
Ninth Air Force Public Affairs

6/25/2015 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Chief Master Sgt. Frank H. Batten III reported for his first day of duty as the Ninth Air Force command chief at Shaw Air Force Base, May 16, 2015.

As the command chief, Batten is responsible for advising the commander and staff on matters influencing the health, welfare, morale and effective utilization of assigned personnel.

While he is new to the position, he isn't new to the Ninth Air Force or to serving as an Air Force command chief. In his 27 years in the Air Force, he has fulfilled command chief positions in his last three assignments.

Batten arrived here from Ramstein Air Base, Germany where he served as the 86th Airlift Wing command chief for the past year. Batten said his previous assignments helped to strengthen his time management skills and prepare him for this expansive command, as he anticipates traveling throughout the Ninth Air Force's area of responsibility in order to connect with the Airmen.

"One of the most rewarding things about the jobs I've had is being able to travel and see the phenomenal Airmen who are out at the many locations all over the globe doing great things," Batten said. "It's great to be able to see some of these missions and find out where I can connect and plug in to help them with mission readiness and taking care of the Airmen and their families."

Ninth Air Force consists of eight active-duty wings, three direct reporting units and 16 National Guard and Air Force Reserve units with nearly 30,000 personnel. Although it will be quite challenging for Batten to visit everyone, he said he values being able to hear the concerns directly from the Airmen.

"Putting your eyes on the locations, on the issues and the Airmen are very important," Batten explained. "I can get an email about something but it's not the same as actually seeing it or hearing it straight out of one of our Airman's mouth."

Batten is scheduled to travel throughout the year. When he is out and about visiting the different organizations, he encourages the command teams to aggressively point out shops that are creating new solutions to solve problems and also those shops faced with unique challenges so they can be recognized and assisted.

"Major General Polumbo [Ninth Air Force commander] and I do a great job determining which units to visit but if there's a success, an innovative practice that was just put into place, an issue they are facing in regards to organize, train and equip or something they need help with, that's where they should take us," Batten said. "That's where we'll be able to put our eyes on it and when we are talking to our staff and higher headquarters, we can speak smartly on the issues and provide assistance."

The command chief recognizes Airmen are facing several challenges with changes to the enlisted force structure, the enlisted evaluation system and the personnel system. He believes these changes are for the betterment of the Airmen and the Air Force. He plans to keep the information flowing up and down the chain to settle some of the anxiety and help Airmen continue to direct their attention on the mission of the Air Force.

Airmen should just be focused on the mission, Batten said. They should come to work every day and do the job to the best of their ability. Hopefully while they're doing that, he said, they're having a little bit of fun and enjoying themselves and what they do.

"I want Airmen to know that their leaders are trying to do everything possible to take care of them and do what's right," Batten added.

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