By Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) — The Air Force appointed its 17th chief master sergeant of the Air Force during a transition and retirement ceremony here Jan. 24.
In his last official act before retiring, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy relinquished the duties and responsibilities of the Air Force’s highest enlisted leader to Chief Master Sgt. James Cody.
Looking across the airplane hangar, Cody addressed some of his main goals in his new position.
“We have to invest before we can reap rewards,” said Cody, who was previously assigned as the command chief master sergeant of Air Education and Training Command. “We will continue to invest in the development of our Airmen in the most deliberate way possible, and we will ensure our force is ready to handle the challenges it will face in the future.”
Cody said as the service’s senior enlisted leader, his focus will be on helping Airmen be successful.
“We need to protect them by making sure they know how to deal with the stress that comes with military life,” said Cody. “We will focus on strengthening relationships, taking care of one another, and holding each other more accountable for measuring up to the high standards we demand of every Airman.”
Themes of innovation and critical thinking were reinforced throughout the ceremony with Cody calling upon Airmen to continue being efficient tacticians.
“As resources tighten, our nation will require more from each one of us. Airmen will meet that challenge through innovation as they always have,” he said.
Though today’s ceremony was a time to celebrate the retirement of Roy and the appointment Cody, leaders reminded the crowd that there’s work to be done.
The Air Force’s highest ranking uniformed Airman said he is ready to roll up his sleeves, alongside Chief and Mrs. Cody.
“Take a look around the hangar here,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “This is your Air Force. And all of us are now your Airmen. Lead us well.”
During the ceremony, the Air Force debuted a new item for enlisted Airmen to be proud of — the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force positional colors.
Today’s ceremony contained great moments — the transition of the service’s 17th CMSAF and the unveiling of the positional colors. However, there was also a bittersweet moment as the Air Force said farewell to a great Airman.
Speaking to his character, one theme throughout Roy’s farewell speech was the importance of relationships.
“Over the past few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my career,” said Roy. “I’ve been thinking — not about what we got accomplished, or what we didn’t get accomplished — but about relationships.
“Our 30 years in the Air Force allowed Ms. Paula and I to develop a lot of valuable relationships,” he said. “We are thankful for each of these, and will continue to build on them as we move into the next chapter of our lives.”
Roy’s three and a half years as chief master sergeant of the Air Force was marked by building relationships with Airmen. A staunch advocate of face-to-face communication, Roy traveled about nine months out of each year to meet and interact with Airmen of all ranks.
Cody said he will continue that legacy.
“To ensure continued success, leaders at all levels must focus on our Airmen and their families,” said Cody. “We look forward to getting out to the bases and meeting our Airmen, listening to their stories, understanding their challenges. And we’re committing to you we will bring those back and work those issues hard here on the staff.”
After closely working together the past six months, Roy and Welsh have bonded over a common denominator — caring for Airmen.
“Chief Roy, there’s just no way to properly say thank you for what you’ve given to our Air Force … but thank you,” said Welsh. “Take care of yourself 16, and wear the number proudly. You’ve earned it.”