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CMSAF discusses current, future Air Force culture at Grand Forks AFB

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass stands to the right of Chief Master Sergeant Kevin Swann, who is welcoming her to Grand Forks AFB.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass is welcomed by Chief Master Sergeant Kevin Swann, 319th Operations Group superintendent, at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 11, 2021. Bass visited to discuss her priorities, Air Force policies and address the questions and concerns of airmen. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Dakota C. LeGrand)

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass sits in a char while gesturing with her hands to Chief Master Sgt. Nathaniel Perry.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass speaks with Chief Master Sgt. Nathaniel Perry, Air Force first sergeant special duty manager, during a discussion with airmen from the 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 11, 2021. Bass spoke of shifting culture within the Air Force to allow for changes as outlined in Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr.’s strategic plan, Accelerate Change or Lose. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Dakota C. LeGrand)

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force stands over a grill while preparing an omelet next to Airman 1st Class Samuel Hood.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass prepares to assemble an omelet with U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Samuel Hood, 319th Force Support Squadron food service apprentice, left, in the dining facility on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 12, 2021. During her visit, Bass met with a variety of airmen and discussed her priorities, Air Force administrative changes and addressed questions on a range of topics. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Elora J. McCutcheon)

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass walks on the sidewalk next to Chief Master Sergeant Nathaniel Perry.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, left, and Chief Master Sgt. Nathaniel Perry, Air Force first sergeant special duty manager, arrive to an all-call at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 12, 2021. The pair participated in an open discussion with an audience of airmen who had questions about current Air Force policies, social media boundaries for military members and general expectations for the future of the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Elora J. McCutcheon)

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass holds up a coin with her right hand while holding a phone with her left. On the phone is Senior Airman Gabrielle Lepinski, being virtually coined through video chat.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass virtually coins Senior Airman Gabrielle Lepinski, 319th Operations Support Squadron RQ-4 Global Hawk intelligence training instructor, at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 11, 2021. Lepinksi was coined for excellence due to her achievements while acting as the intelligence training shop noncommissioned officer in charge. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Dakota C. LeGrand)

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass stands in front of a crowd of airmen at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The audience size was limited to abide by current COVID-19 social distancing standards and guidelines – one of the topics of discussion.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass addresses members of the 319th Reconnaissance Wing during an all-call at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 12, 2021. The audience size was limited to abide by current COVID-19 social distancing standards and guidelines – one of the topics of discussion.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass poses for a photo with Lt Col. John Henson in front of a United States of America flag.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, left, poses for a photo with Lt. Col. John Henson, 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 11, 2021. The 319 LRS provides transportation, supply, fuels, logistics plans and munitions in support of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission of the 319th Reconnaissance Wing. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Dakota C. LeGrand)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass visited the 319th Reconnaissance Wing to meet with airmen behind the RQ-4 Global Hawk’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission Feb. 11-12, 2021. 

Chief Bass prioritized discussions with airmen in order to have crucial conversations regarding the present and future needs of the Air Force, with a focus on people, readiness and culture.

“We want to retain people who want to be part of something bigger,” Bass explained during a breakfast panel with airmen and noncommissioned officers. “It isn’t a program that will fix our current issues, but culture.”

She provided an environment of open dialogue for airmen to ask questions and provide feedback on Air Force policies, so she may better provide insight to higher Air Force leadership when the time comes to make changes.

Airmen felt strongly about the need to reevaluate items to include the enlisted promotion system, assignment management across the force, physical testing standards and leadership qualities being taught in professional development courses.  

One of her stops included the 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron, where she and airmen discussed Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Charles Q. Brown, Jr.’s strategic approach Accelerate Change or Lose. The strategic plan emphasizes the need to move forward with high-tech warfighting capabilities through collaboration within the Air Force and empowerment of airmen.

“How do we continue to be the world’s greatest Air Force in the contested environment we have today?” Bass asked. “How do we get where we need to be in 2030 and beyond?”

Involved in that discussion was Airman First Class Valerie Cruz, 319 LRS vehicle maintenance technician, who expressed the gratitude she felt to be able to speak with the CMSAF.

“I felt like it was a nice setting to be in, just being able to have an honest conversation and be myself around her,” said Cruz.

In addition to her sit-down conversations, Bass also hosted an all-call in which she championed why it is imperative to cultivate creativity, innovate as an Air Force and improve culture to allow for modernization.

“Our adversaries will not fight a fair fight,” Bass emphasized. “They have capitalized on air and space domain, and when the whole nation looks to us in times of terror or attack, it is a non-negotiable requirement that our force needs to be prepared.”

In addition to being thankful for the open flow of strategic insight and communication from Bass to the airmen here, Chief Master Sgt. Ryan Thuyns, 319 RW command chief, explained why it meant a lot to him that she visited.

“It’s been a goal of ours to bring Chief Bass to visit the Warriors of the North,” he said. “I’ve known her for about 10 years and to see that her humility, energy and ability to connect with airmen is just as genuine and full of excitement today as it was then, is a true testament of her passion.”