Bass highlights Army-Air Force integration during JBLM visit

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tryphena Mayhugh
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord Jan. 31-Feb 2 to learn about the mission here and how the Air Force and Army integrate for joint operations.

During her visit, Bass visited the 62nd Airlift Wing, 627th Air Base Group, 446th Airlift Wing, Western Air Defense Sector and 22nd Special Tactics Squadron as well as the Army’s I Corps. She also recognized Airmen for excellent performance and addressed Team McChord Airmen during an all-call.

For more than a decade, the Air Force and Army have work side-by-side at JBLM, a joint partnership that is important to project the full capabilities of the Department of Defense.

“We all have to be able to understand how we train and fight together, especially from a joint perspective,” Bass said. “The more opportunities we have to do this, the better it is; and what better place than somewhere like Lewis-McChord where we’re seeing that in action.”

Even though she was born in Puyallup, a city a few miles north of JBLM, Bass had yet to see the men and women from both the Army and Air Force here in action.

“This is my first opportunity to visit Team McChord and to be able to see the way we are integrating with the Army is pretty impressive,” Bass said. “Also the additional mission sets from special tactics to air ground operations to WADS and all the other mission sets that are happening. I couldn’t be more impressed with ability of the Airmen here to do that, and a lot of it is based off the relationships they have amongst each other, as well as their Army brothers and sisters.”

Those relationships have been a part in enabling Team McChord Airmen to provide rapid global mobility to every continent in the world through C-17 Globemaster III airlift operations.

“When it comes to our C-17 platforms, they are strategic in nature,” Bass said. “They have the ability to be agile and land anywhere that the Air Force needs. When you look at the mission of the U.S. Air Force to project airpower anytime, anywhere – the C-17s are very much a part enabling us to get after that strategic mission.”

With the threat of tomorrow and how to engage with near-peer adversaries while continuing to project airpower, the Air Force is looking into new talent management and force development to shape Airmen and future operations into a competitive force.

“From a talent management perspective we have a lot of room to grow, some of that is being able to capitalize the skill sets that Airmen here at this installation are getting with working with the diverse mission sets and joint partners,” Bass said. “We have to figure out how to show that our Airmen have these skillsets and from there, that’s where we get to capitalize as an Air Force and joint force all the talents our Airmen have just from being stationed here.”

Indeed, the talents and skillsets of Airmen have been tested during the last two years with the COVID-19 pandemic, as they found new ways to balance Airmen safety while still meeting mission requirements and maintaining readiness.

“Despite this pandemic, our Air Force has never stopped being able to do the things our nation asks of us,” Bass said. “We’ve seen that in full effect over the past two years. The faith I have in our Air Force is because of the people who serve in it, it’s our Airmen that will never allow us to fail.”

Team McChord Airmen showed Bass how they provide global mobility to the entire world and work side-by-side with their Army counterparts to stay innovative and prepared for anything that comes their way.

“I have an opportunity to go out and visit lots of Airmen and our joint service members, and coming here to this installation was really a treat for me,” Bass said. “I could see firsthand a sense of pride that our Airmen have in the mission that they do to project air power, in the Airmen who have been a part of [Operation Allied Refuge], in the diversity of the mission sets that they have here. I’ve seen the total force in action and it really has been an honor for me.”