CMSAF Wright visits 442d Fighter Wing
By Staff Sgt. Missy Sterling, 442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 07, 2019
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo.-- Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright held an all call with members of the 442d Fighter Wing here Oct. 6.
More than 800 Airmen gathered to hear Wright speak on current hot topics in the Air Force and for the chance to ask some questions of their own.
Wright didn’t waste time getting to one of the most pressing issues that required all wings in the Air Force to take a Resiliency Tactical Pause, a day for wings to take time to focus on suicide prevention.
“Right now, what I’m thinking about and what keeps me up at night is suicide,” Wright said. “There’s a lot of people thinking about a lot of things in the Pentagon. I personally don’t think the answer lies in the Pentagon. If you ask me where you solve this problem, it’s you and I wake up every day and ask ourselves, ‘hey, what can I do better to solve this issue?’”
Multiple times Wright suggested the answer lies with each member in the Air Force. He implored each member to make a small change that could lead to a large impact.
“I think there’s a series of small things,” Wright said. “Sometimes you do need more manning, sometimes you need more resources. Sometimes you need access to more mental health professionals, chaplains and other helping agencies. Sometimes you just have to be better human beings. Sometimes we have to be great listeners, treat people with dignity, kindness and respect. Make people feel valued.”
Wright asked the audience to imagine Airman Johnson at an organization where leadership doesn’t know his name and where the rest of the team feels burdened when the Airman takes time off work to focus on a challenging time with his spouse.
Then he asked them to imagine that same Airman going through this hardship, except this time he is in an organization that embraces him with support.
“You wouldn’t believe how we rallied around and we took care of him,” Wright said, as if he were part of that imaginary organization. “I know it’s going to be tough. There’s only going to be 3 or 4 of us left to get work done around here, but it’s worth the sacrifice because we need to make sure Airman Johnson gets right.”
People use the excuse that they are busy, he said, “we have to learn to eliminate that excuse.” Over the years, he said he learned that you make time for what you believe is important.
He continued to discuss ways people can improve their workplace by eliminating non-essential tasks and optimizing their workplace with the tools and resources they are provided.
Wright also discussed how Air Force leaders plan to adjust physical training tests, establish bereavement leave, and improve supervisor-to-Airman feedback.
He ended his time with the Airmen by telling them to be bold and to look out for each other.
“I know it’s not easy,” he said. “But I’m encouraging each and every one of you to be bold and courageous leaders. I appreciate your sacrifice and what you do. I’ll keep hacking away at things that will allow you to become more efficient. You guys keep taking care of each other. Keep being good humans.”