Feedback has Impact: Pentagon representatives visit Dobbins

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Gage Daniel
  • 94th Airlift Wing

“Meeting the Airmen was our priority,” said Chief Master Sergeant Leah E. Chavez, the Senior Enlisted Leader to the Director of the Air Force Review Boards Agency, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, during a visit Aug. 4-6 here.

Chavez and CMSgt. Andrew J. Smith, Chief Enlisted Policy Integration for Headquarters Air Force Reserve Directorate of Personnel, visited Dobbins ARB to learn about the base-level perspective of the Air Force mission and Dobbins and listen to the challenges Airmen were having so they could relay that information back to their respective offices to better integrate Total Force needs at the Air Force level.

“Since we work directly with policy and work to remove barriers for policy, we came here so we could understand and gain needed perspective from the base-level,” Chavez said.

During their visit, Chavez and Smith received a variety of feedback from Airmen across many different career fields and Dobbins units, ranging from childcare, to funding, and other ways the Air Force can optimize Total Force solutions to meet new and emerging mission sets.

“We saw a common trend, that despite the issues faced, everyone seemed to love what they do and had a lot of pride,” said Smith.

While speaking with Airmen, non-commissioned officers, and officers, Chavez and Smith relayed the Air Reserve Forces Policy Committee. ARFPC is a way for anyone from the wing-level up to the Secretary of the Air Force to provide feedback on barriers Airmen are facing as a result of policy.

“Most importantly, we want the Airmen to know that they have a voice and that their feedback is important,” Chavez said. “There is an opportunity to provide feedback, and with that, changes can be developed, and policy can be influenced.”

During their trip, Smith and Chavez were able to spend time with the 80th Aerial Port Squadron, 94th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 94th Airlift Wing helping agencies such as the Chaplain’s office and mental health, and an array of other squadrons tenant units that make Dobbins such a unique installation.

“Seeing the Airmen at work and speaking with them about what they do and why, was inspiring,” Chavez said. “Knowing what motivated them to join and serve was the highlight of my trip; and seeing the Top 3, Junior Enlisted Council, and other professional organizations active shows that they care a lot about the Airmen here.”

Upon returning to the Pentagon, Chavez and Smith plan to ask “why” regarding some of the policies and priorities and how to get to “yes” when matters affect Airmen’s readiness and training.

“We are not skipping chains of command, but sometimes I think that eliminating all of the different levels between our offices and the wing can help us because it gives us a direct line to Airmen,” said Smith. “We built some relationships here, learned a lot about some Total Force needs and challenges, and there is a lot of perspective that we are bringing back up to help drive change moving forward.”