MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D., January 23, 2014 (AFNS) – On the cusp of one of Minot Air Force Base’s most demanding inspections this year, Airmen here welcomed the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia.
Battaglia is charged with advising the CJCS on all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force and joint development for enlisted personnel. While at Minot AFB, he had the opportunity to personally visit with Airmen of both the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing to learn more about their day-to-day contributions to the nuclear deterrence mission.
During his visit, he took the opportunity to address Airmen on initiatives the DOD is currently focusing on, including improving programs relevant to the transition of service members into the civilian sector, as well as the CJCS’ outlook for maintaining a well trained, prepared, educated and relevant military.
He explained that as the military transitions from a decade of war, a reshaping of the forces is to be expected. This includes voluntary separations, retirements and a reduction in benefits or quality of life programs currently in existence.
“On the heels of every major conflict comes a downsizing of the force,” Battaglia said.
Battaglia said it is a cycle that not one of the service branches is immune from.
For those and other reasons, he said the DOD is taking particular steps to provide adequate resources to service members separating or retiring. He went into detail about efforts to reinvigorate the Transition Assistance Program that supports service members to find employment, educational programs, small business opportunities and technical training necessary for success in the civilian sector.
“It is vital to help service members transition,” Battaglia said.
Regardless of the environment any service member finds themselves in, he said a career in the military is a lot of hard work and with it comes a lot of sacrifice. For Battaglia, the fact that young veterans joined the armed forces while the country was at war speaks volumes about their character.
“The opportunity to serve is by far the greatest profession the country has to offer,” he said.
During his visit to Minot AFB, Battaglia said he had a lot of positive takeaways, but in particular he was impressed with the level of responsibility, trust and empowerment that is placed on its Airmen with confidence.
“I can see the focus of Airmen across all ranks,” the sergeant major said, “both company grade officers and junior enlisted.”
The focus from all the Airmen on the upcoming inspection stood out to him, which he described as evidence of the seriousness of the mission here.
Chief Master Sgt. David Nordel, the 20th Air Force command chief, who also accompanied the command sergeant major on his visit, said he is confident Battaglia is walking away with the impression that Minot AFB stands the test of maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear-capable mission, and he will be able to convey that to senior leaders in Washington, D.C.
“Everybody should be proud of how they presented themselves,” Nordel said. “Minot (AFB) is a great place be and a great assignment to have.”
Battaglia ended remarks with Airmen during an all-call the McAdoo Sports and Fitness Center by lauding the efforts of all at Minot AFB.
“Regardless of your position, or role … you make a difference,” Battaglia said. “Don’t let anyone tell you different.”