Retired CMSAF visits base

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tiffany Orr
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Robert Gaylor visited McChord recently for a base tour and to speak at the Air Force Sergeant's Association Division 14 convention.

Although he is retired, Chief Gaylor, who was the fifth chief master sergeant of the Air Force, keeps busy traveling around the country speaking to Air Force members. McChord was the Chief's 18th base this year.

"I still enjoy being an active participant in our great Air Force, so I never say no to an invitation unless I have a conflict," he said. "This is what I do. I was the fifth chief master sergeant of the Air Force, so I am still a small part of our great Air Force."

When he is not traveling or speaking at engagements, Chief Gaylor said he likes to stay on top of issues affecting Airmen, such as the war on terror.

"Right now we are engaged in conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have thousands of our Air Force members serving in those locations," he said. "I think the concern now is to make sure that they have the resources they need to do their job and to be safe."

One way to keep Airmen safer in combat environments, said Chief Gaylor, is extended training programs such as the new eight-week basic training course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

"I think right now that anyone we send into a combat environment needs to have the proper equipment and the proper training, said Chief Gaylor.

"When I went to Vietnam in 1967, I was not given any training. I was a cop. I went over there wondering what I was getting myself into. It would be inappropriate to ask our people to put their life on their line without giving them the resources they need," he said.

And in agreement with the Secretary of the Air Force and Air Force Chief of Staff, Chief Gaylor said education, both technical and advanced, is another important issue affecting Airmen today.

"When I joined the Air Force in 1948, there was no tech school for my career field. I never went to tech school. I never went to Airman Leadership School," he said. I didn't go to an NCO academy until I was a senior master sergeant, so I know what it's like to be in key positions without appropriate training."

However, with increased knowledge and training comes increased responsibility for the Air Force, said Chief Gaylor.

If we require Airmen to get advanced and technical education, he said, "We then have to find positions for them to use that knowledge and compensate them appropriately."

"I'm talking bonuses, pay, benefits and allowances. That's why we lose people to civilian activity. We train them and we skill them. Civilian activities watch that. We have to make sure that they are compensated so we can keep them on board."

Though modern Airmen face challenges in the form of training and education, Chief Gaylor said he is proud of today's Air Force and encourages Airmen to "leave the Air Force a little better than they found it."

"My job was to leave [the Air Force] a little better than I found it. If everybody does that it will always be a better Air Force. I feel that ownership. I think each Airman should feel that."