Chairman's Senior Enlisted Advisor Visits TRANSCOM
By Bob Fehringer
Special to American Forces Press Service
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill., Jul. 14, 2006 The senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited U.S. Transportation Command here earlier this week to meet with enlisted members and learn about the command.
Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz (left), commander of U.S. Transportation Command, chats with Army Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During his July 10-12 orientation visit to the command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., Gainey visited TRANSCOM, Air Mobility Command and base facilities. Photo by Bob Fehringer
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"As we know, TRANSCOM is one of the functional (combat commands)," Army Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey said, "but TRANSCOM reaches out and touches everybody. I was telling a group of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines today, TRANSCOM is actually global. No one moves without TRANSCOM. So, I felt it was time for me to come and see my global movers."
Since Gainey was appointed to the new position Oct. 1, he has toured the world as the "eyes and ears of the chairman and the voice (of the enlisted members) back to him," he said.
Gainey said the enlisted men and women of TRANSCSOM and Scott Air Force Base are typical of U.S. military personnel everywhere. "You can judge a command by the way the young people act when you meet them -- how happy they are, the job satisfaction they have."
He said a good command climate here has led to satisfied servicemembers. "The leaders make these young men and women feel special," Gainey said. "So people want to be part of their team. Command climate is very important. There is a positive command climate at TRANSCOM. I've heard time after time today, 'I really enjoy coming to work. I'm so excited about what I do.' It's just unbelievable."
Gainey remarked on how the military has changed since he enlisted in 1975. "When I came in, the old saying was 'You do not question why, all you do is do or die,'" Gainey said. "I did not have a say. I just had to do what I was told to do. (Today) our young men and women have somewhat of a say. They want to know the 'why.' They're very committed to what they do.
"I had an individual, about a week or two ago, tell me the services are getting soft," Gainey continued. "I told them they are: They're getting Microsoft. They are smarter than they have ever been. This is the 'now' generation. They have just as much patriotism as any of us. They care about the big picture."
Gainey said that everyone associated with all branches of service are in that picture. Everyone stationed at Scott Air Force Base should understand that they are involved in the global war on terrorism, he said.
"I challenged a group today to look up the word global," Gainey said. "Global is worldwide. Everybody sitting on this base is involved in the fight. They need to believe that and understand it, because that's the gospel truth."
During his travels, Gainey, like many military leaders, hands out challenge coins for special achievements. He commented on an incident involving one such coin he presented at the Tanker Airlift Control Center, in Air Mobility Command.
"There was a young Air Force person who I presented a coin to," Gainey said. "She had her buddy there and said 'I wish my friend could have a coin.' I said 'Are you willing to give up your coin?' She looked at me (and said) 'I can give it to her?'"
Gainey told the airman that she could give her coin to her friend, but there was no guarantee that she could get a replacement for it. "Are you willing to give up your coin?" Gainey asked again.
The airman said, "Yes."
"I gave her buddy the coin," Gainey said, "and I reached into my pocket and gave her (the airman) a coin. You don't see that too often. That meant a lot to me. That's to sum up the attitude of the men and women of Scott Air Force Base. They are the most unselfish, dedicated, focused people I have ever seen. And I'm not blowing smoke."
(Bob Fehringer works for U.S. Transportation Command Public Affairs.)