PACAF command chief visits Eielson
By Airman 1st Class Nora Anton, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 24, 2007
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
The Pacific Air Forces command chief made his first trip to Eielson for a visit with the Iceman Team Jan 17 and 18.
Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Bishop toured the base and gained a greater perspective on Eielson's unique location and the mission Icemen perform here.
Chief Bishop said base visits give him the opportunity to both highlight his priorities for Airmen working in PACAF and receive vital feedback from the front lines.
The issues PACAF Airmen should be concerned with today are essentially the same as the Air Force's issues: winning the global war on terrorism, taking care of our Airmen and recapitalizing our fleet, he said.
"We must win the global war on terrorism--nothing else matters more than that," he said. "Some of our Airmen are going to be asked to leave our service, it is our job to take care of those Airmen until the last day they wear our Air Force uniform."
We are making tough decisions regarding manpower and money because we need to modernize our aircraft.
"It is critical that we maintain the air superiority that we have had for the last 53-plus years," he continued. "And the way we do that is by recapitalizing our fleet--probably the most difficult challenge of all."
The chief expressed his concern with doing the same amount of work with less people in hopes of maintaining the Air Force's consistent level of excellence.
"While we can't do more with less, we can keep training our Airmen to sustain the mission we have today," he said. "By implementing Air Force Smart Operations 21, other initiatives and leveraging technology, we hope we will be able to do it by working smarter--not harder."
Touching on the ever-popular subject of leadership in the Air Force, the chief relayed that our leaders need to continuously develop.
"More so in the future of the Air Force than in the past, effective leadership will make the determination of the success or failure in the Air Force," he said. "We have young lieutenants and Airmen who are coined as leaders because of their eagerness and ability rather than rank and that is something to be valued."
Strategic communication, as explained by Chief Bishop, is one of the most imperative devices we use in today's Air Force.
"Strategic communication is critical to our success in the future--simply put, it is our ability to tell our story," he said. "We have one message, but many voices in the Air Force to tell it."
The chief explained that successful communication involves Airmen not only communicating effectively, but also in a timely matter.
"Another thing we have to do is be first to the fight--to go out and take advantage of strategic communication; when an incident happens or a story needs to be told, we have to proactively tell our side of the story to the world first so everyone else has to be on their defenses," he said.
Along with the Air Force as a whole, Chief Bishop hopes to improve his own communication methods alongside the Air Force.
"The scariest thing to any of us is the unknown," he said. "With the downsizing that is currently happening, it is my job to ease that fear by enhancing the communication from the lowest-ranking Airman all the way up to Gen. Hester [PACAF commander] about force-shaping issues."
In his near-27-year service, Chief Bishop accounts the most important thing he has seen in his Air Force career.
"Growing up as an Airman, I feel blessed to be a part of something where we take 18- and 19-year-old Airmen and put them in charge of multi-million dollar jets and I get to watch them do their job better than anybody else in the world," he said. "It gives me a proud sense of belonging to a very special organization."
Lastly, the chief reminded Icemen what they are serving for.
"We need to stay focused on the fight," Chief Bishop said. "The number-one priority for any of us needs to be to win the global war on terrorism."