by Master Sgt. Leisa Grant
153rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
11/17/2015 - CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The
command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard visited Airmen
at the Wyoming Air National Guard base here Nov. 8 to discuss issues
affecting the enlisted force.
The first order of business for Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, ANG
command chief master sergeant, was to hold two consecutive enlisted
calls at F.E. Warren Air Force Base. He discussed three main themes:
renewing ANG members' commitments to the profession of arms, maintaining
a healthy force and recognizing our Airmen's accomplishments.
"It's critically important that you recognize your Airmen," said Hotaling during the senior enlisted call.
True to his own words, he coined just a handful of Airmen and had a
special message for each of them. This resonated especially well with
one of the wing's newest members, Airman Basic Skylar Orr, a cyber
operator assigned to the 153rd Command and Control Squadron. Orr
recently graduated from Basic Military Training with honors and returned
from his technical training.
He said being recognized and coined was exciting and not anything he
expected as an airman basic new to the unit. More importantly it made
him proud to serve, he said.
"It was wonderful to represent CACS," said Orr. "When I came back to the
unit they were all proud of me. Everyone knows who I am now. That's
important," adding that it made him feel compelled to "step up his
Hotaling said that the ANG is no longer a strategic reserve, but rather,
an operational force and is "never going back." Using a football
analogy about the changing of helmet-to-helmet contact rules in recent
years and how NFL players had to adapt to these changes, he said Airmen
are the players in the new operational ANG and that as our own rules and
requirements change, Airmen have to adapt as well. The Air National
Guard as it was prior to Sept. 11, 2001, "no longer exists," Hotaling
bluntly told the audience.
While his message was clear and there were no questions about our
post-9/11 environment in the ANG, noncommissioned officers in the
audience did have questions regarding enlisted grade reviews, military
pay, training and other readiness and deployment-related issues.
Hotaling also met with what he called the "spheres of influences" in
wings: the First Sergeants' Council, the Rising Six Council and the
Senior NCO Council. In these smaller more intimate settings he was able
to address issues specific to the people these groups represent and to
hear feedback about the effectiveness and challenges of their individual
councils. He intentionally chose to spend more than a quarter of his
eight-hour day with the councils because he said it was the most
effective way to essentially reach the most people in the end.
"That's where your leadership is implanted because they're all leaders
in there," he said. "Even people who come to Rising Six want to be
leaders. "Now you can have a very good targeted discussion with the
people who will touch the most Airmen once [I] leave."