5th AF command chief visits Kadena Airmen

by Airman 1st Class Stephen G. Eigel
18th Wing Public Affairs

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. James Laurent, 5th Air Force command chief master sergeant, visited Kadena Feb. 5 to learn more about the missions here.

During his visit, Laurent spoke with many squadrons about why their mission is important and how they fit in to Kadena's mission of providing unmatched combat power, a forward power projection platform and for the common defense of Japan.

While at Kadena, Laurent also took the opportunity to speak with the Airman Leadership School and NCO Academy classes.

"It's important for senior leadership to speak to our classes because a lot of the time we don't get the clear message as it funnels down," Chief Master Sgt. Roberto Chacon, Erwin Professional Military Education Center commandant said. "It is beneficial to hear it from the source so they can squash any rumors or misinterpretations."

Laurent also talked about what it means to become a leader and what role they will need to play in Airmen lives.

"Right now you are all on trial to become NCOs or Senior NCOs," Laurent told the classes. "My question for you all is when you're in court trying to be found guilty of being a good NCO, what are your peers and the Airmen under and above you going to say about you."

Laurent wanted to make sure that the NCOs remembered that they are being watched and looked up to at all times so they should remember that they need to lead by example.

"Mentorship is vital to Airmen development," Laurent said. "I think the first question NCOs should ask their Airmen is why they came in the Air Force and then figure out their goals so that they can help them refine and accomplish their goals."

After his first day touring Kadena, Laurent stayed for a few more days and toured the base again with Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where they had lunch with Airmen and visited several shops around base including the fire department, airfield management, fuels, as well as attended an 18th Wing mission Brief.

Laurent ended his time at Kadena with a dinner at Jack's Place with leaders from the different bases around Okinawa.

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