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AFSC Chief: Enlisted ranks are backbone of Air Force

Air Force Sustainment Center Command Chief Master Sgt. Gregg Jones

Air Force Sustainment Center Command Chief Master Sgt. Gregg Jones

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The Air Force Sustainment Center's highest ranking enlisted member has been on the job since April and is ready to lead and develop AFSC enlisted Airmen wherever they may be.

Part of Command Chief Master Sgt. Gregg Jones' nearly 25-year career has included advising Iraq and Afghanistan how to redevelop and improve their air forces.

He believes the world's best air forces thrive on a key ingredient that any nation must pay attention to for success: the enlisted ranks.

"I say this from having seen it," Chief Jones said. "The reason we're the world's greatest air power that's ever been known is -- and I'm firmly convinced -- is that enlisted formation.

"A professional enlisted force is really what gets you there," the chief said. "The backbone of our service is that E-4, E-5, E-6. That's where the rubber meets the road."

In his current position, Chief Jones will advise Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, AFSC commander, on the organization, training, resourcing and employment of 3,700 enlisted Airmen.

The chief served about 20 years with the Air Force Special Operations Command. Working in multiple loadmaster assignments, he accumulated more than 4,900 flying hours and has been qualified in six different aircraft.

The chief has flown in direct combat missions in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Provide Comfort, Provide Promise, Joint Endeavor, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He returned from Afghanistan in April after 10 months as command chief master sergeant for Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan.

In his first posting in Air Force Materiel Command, the chief said he strives to leverage his combat experience to remind Airmen that every Air Force job supports the warfighter.
"What I can do for any skill set is draw the picture backwards from actions on the objective, because ultimately, that's what it's all about," the chief said. "Whether you're a med tech, security forces, a maintainer -- you can connect the dots to where that is having an impact on the objective."

Chief Jones said Airmen should expect to hear a lot about the importance of mission execution from him. Part of that execution, though, involves taking care of the Airmen who sometimes face personal challenges on and off base.

"My job is to lead and develop Airmen," Chief Jones said. "That sounds pretty simple, but like anything, it's not as simple as we'd like to believe.

"It's about trying to strike that balance between the mission and the people," he said. "There's a sweet spot between making sure that we're organized, trained and equipped to go out there and execute, but it's also about getting your personal needs met and your family getting their needs met so that we've got folks that are resilient."

Chief Jones said he's found that the core Air Force values are great reminders of why Airmen choose to serve. They're also helpful guides for overcoming personal and professional hurdles.

"They're simple things, but there's a lot of depth there that goes into that," he said. "I always appreciate the messaging we put out there, but if it is too complex folks forget. But nobody ever forgets integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.
"It's endured because it's simple and it's the truth."

The command chief is a self-described "huge" auto racing fan. He has raced competitively in mini-sprint race cars and go-karts. He grew up in Clearwater, Fla., enlisting in 1989.

His wife is Master Sgt. Sarah Jones, training manager with the 72nd Security Forces Squadron. He has a 22-year-old son, Justin, a senior at the University of New Mexico.