CMSAF learns first-hand what makes Vance Proud

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – “What a great day of Airmen demonstrating what ‘Vance Proud’ means,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright after visiting Vance Air Force Base July 29, 2019.

“Everywhere I visited today, people had a tremendous amount of pride in what they do for the Air Force, had a tremendous amount of pride in being teammates for each other and what you do here.”

Wright interacted with Airmen of all ranks during his one-day stop, which included a visit to one of only nine aerospace physiology chambers in the Air Force and a virtual reality flight in a T-38 Talon.

Vance’s continuous innovation initiatives include virtual reality simulators and recorded academics made available to students prior to class start date, tying directly into the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. David Goldfein’s focus area of “Tomorrow’s Air Force, Faster and Smarter.”

“It’s a rare honor for the CMSAF to visit,” said Chief Master Sgt. Frank J. Graziano Jr., Vance’s command chief master sergeant. “Especially a base as small as Vance. But we have a huge footprint in every day Air Force functions, and the ways we’ve integrated innovation and our culture of Vance Proud is something we’re excited to showcase.”

When meeting with enlisted radar approach controllers from the 71st Operations Support Squadron, who operate the fourth busiest airspace in the Air Force, Wright listened to their stories of resiliency after the recent loss of one of their peers.

“My prayers are with you,” Wright said, before addressing the ongoing problem of suicide. “I personally struggle with trying to fix this, because it feels like a train going off the tracks.

“What hasn’t worked is top-down programs that are directive with no follow-up or validation,” said Wright.

“What has worked are local programs developed around problems that you have here and the resources you have available in your area. All you really need from the Air Force is the authority to proceed and the money to make it happen. That should be our role. Because no one knows what works better than you, the people who live and work here,” he said

Wright finished his visit by addressing the small enlisted cadre and large student pilot population.

When asked how to stay sharp when at a smaller base like Vance, Wright’s advice was “Bloom where you’re planted. Make the best of the opportunities while you’re here to grow as a person and as a professional. Find a positive in this assignment, in every assignment.

“Because if Vance wasn’t important to the Air Force mission of building pilots, it wouldn’t be here. It’s as simple as that,” Wright said.