New top Air Force NCO sets broad agenda
By NATASHA LEE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 18, 2009
Air Force Chief Master Sgt. James A. Roy said he plans to focus on continued professional development for airmen and services for their families when he steps in as the 16th chief master sergeant of the Air Force next month.
Roy, currently the senior enlisted leader and adviser to the U.S. Pacific Command combatant commander, said it’s important to ensure the Air Force’s capabilities keep in tow with its commitment to modernize and strengthen its national and international partnerships, nuclear program, training and family care.
"The key for me is how best we develop our force to complete those priorities that we as an Air Force have set out to do," said Roy in a phone interview Saturday.
Roy, 45, will replace Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley on June 30.
McKinley was appointed in 2006 and is retiring after more than 30 years of service.
Expeditionary training for airmen who deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan and the quality of services for families of deployed airmen are among Roy’s concerns.
Such services through base Airmen and Family Readiness centers have gradually matured over the years, but it’s important they continue to reflect the ongoing needs of servicemembers and their families, Roy said.
"The program we have in 2009 — is that the same thing we’ll have in 2012? Probably not," he said. "There may be some similarities, but I think we have to keep up with the needs of the airmen and their families."
Roy, who joined the Air Force in 1982, said he also will continue to push McKinley’s emphasis on improving wounded warrior care and professional military education.
Roy said his interaction with the armed services and international militaries during his tenure with PACOM gives him well-rounded insight into how to meet the needs and responsibilities of the service. He led the first senior enlisted delegation to China in 2008 — a highlight of his two years in Hawaii, he said. The trip resulted in a visit from Chinese delegates to Hawaii later that year.
Roy said he has benefited from taking on leadership roles early on in his career — responsibilities the Air Force instills in young airmen, he said, adding that he encourages airmen to take advantage of those opportunities.
"You’ve got to work hard," he said. "Sometimes you got to take those assignments that no one else wants; you have to work hard at them, and the rewards come from that. Live by your values, the core Air Force values, and use your diversity to help build our Air Force even better."
Roy started his Air Force career as a heavy equipment operator with the 56th Civil Engineering Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. He previously served as the command chief master sergeant at wings in Air Education and Training Command, Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command.
Prior to joining PACOM, Roy served as the command chief master sergeant for U.S. Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force at Yokota Air Base in Japan.
Roy holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering management from Park College in Missouri and a master’s in human resources management from Troy State College in Alabama.
He and his wife, Paula, have 9-year-old twin sons.