|Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy,
Pentagon (equivalent to the Sergeant Major of the Army), visited Fort
McCoy and Volk Field July 13-14 to view Air Force mobilization training.
At Fort McCoy, Roy received a Joint Expeditionary Tasking (JET)
briefing and had lunch with a JET class. He also received a briefing
from the garrison commander and visited JET training at Contingency
Operating Location Freedom. Then, he was briefed about Detachment 7,
602nd Training Group (Provisional), which is responsible for the
Joint Sourcing Training Oversight program administrative functions
at Fort McCoy. After his tour of Fort McCoy, he sat down with The
Real McCoy (TRM) for a brief question-and-answer session.
Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Confer
(left) of the 181st Infantry Brigade talks with Chief Master
Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy during a situational training
exercise at Fort McCoy. The STX was conducted by Airmen as part
of the Joint Training Oversight Program.
Photo by 1st Lt. Jeffrey E. Gruidl
TRM: You are a Michigan native. Have you visited Fort McCoy
Roy: This is actually my first visit to Fort McCoy.
I’ve been chief master sergeant of the Air Force for a little over a
year now, and we’ve been trying to get up to Fort McCoy to look at the
training that’s conducted here and what’s offered to our Airmen who are
going through this training. In fact, I have not been to Wisconsin
TRM: What was the purpose/nature of this visit to Fort McCoy?
Roy: The reason was to look at the training that’s afforded to our JET
Airmen who are conducting Army missions.
Some skills that are required for some of those missions are unique, and
we don’t have all those requirements for our Airmen. Obviously for Fort
McCoy and the mission you have here, it shares those with our Airmen in
preparing them for deployments.
I just got back from the Central Command Theater of Operations. When I
go and talk to these Airmen who actually are doing these taskings, one
of the things they bring back up to me is the things we call combat
skills training that is done here at Fort McCoy.
This is actually our third Army location — we view it as a Power
Projection Platform for that training — so it’s one that we send
different Air Force specialties (AFS) or the Army equivalent military
occupational specialty to different locations for different taskings.
It’s important from my perspective that we view all of them. And we’re
trying to get to each of them.
TRM: The mission of Fort McCoy is to “underpin the readiness of the
force.” From the Air Force perspective, how important is the training
Air Force personnel receive at a mobilization station such as Fort
Roy: Readiness for joint coalition operations is one of (my) priorities
as Chief Master Sergeant for the Air Force.
What you do here each and every day in preparing not just the Airmen but
Soldiers, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen to go out and do these missions
is very, very important. I view it as vitally important to mission
We also look at what the combatant command requirements are, and,
through Fort McCoy and the 181st (Infantry Brigade, which conducts
mobilization training for the installation), we were able to complete
those requirements that our combatant command, in this case, Central
Command, has required/requested of our Airmen.
TRM: What are your impressions of the contributions to readiness that
Fort McCoy is providing to Air Force personnel through training,
facilities and other support?
Roy: First and foremost, realistic training is essential to making sure
our Airmen are absolutely prepared, and the closer you can do this to
their deployment is even better.
My belief is through places like Fort McCoy we’re able to do that. We’re
able to get our Airmen in here, bed them down and get them to their
required training. So, it’s very, very important for us to utilize the
facilities like this in a training location.
Airmen complete a security patrol
as part of a situational training exercise at Fort McCoy, which
was observed by Chief Maser Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy.
The 181st Infantry Brigade trainings mobilizing Airmen through
the Joint Service Training Oversight Program.
Photo by 1st Lt. Jeffrey E. Gruidl
TRM: What are some of the takeaways from your visit here?
Roy: It’s crucial for us to train in locations like Fort McCoy.
Expeditionary training is something we consider fundamental, and, as I
alluded to earlier, the closer we can do our training to our deployment
date, the more relevant it is to that warfighter, in my case those
Airmen that we’re sending downrange. This training is essential to
prepare everybody for deployment.
TRM: Any words of advice, wisdom or encouragement you would like to
share with those training to deploy? To those who work to support their
Roy: What I would say to those getting ready to deploy, first, is that
JET Airmen are crucial to winning today’s fight, both in Iraq and in
The importance of and the value of the missions they are going to do is
very, very high.
Our Airmen are highly motivated and able to process information and make
decisions in a pretty unique way — one that all of our Airmen are
It’s really enlightening to come out to these training locations and see
our Airmen tested in ways that are not usual for an Airman. But they
produce in such a way that it’s enlightening to me, and it’s exciting to
me to see how well our Airmen do in these cases.
What I would say to those outside that form is the United States Air
Force is all in. We have combat forces deployed around the world, such
as these Airmen who are getting ready to deploy. But also we have Airmen
who are employed every single day by a combatant command. Some of these
locations where they’re employed are what we consider home stations, but
yet they affect the battle space. They’re in whatever theater of
operation you’re operating in. So, first and foremost, is that the
United States Air Force is all in.
The other thing I would say is that I appreciate — we all appreciate —
everything that those who train and those who are getting the training
do in defense of our nation every single day. The fact is we’re a nation
at war. This is not about the United States Army; it’s not about the
United States Air Force. It’s about the United States of America. And
again, your United States Air Force is a partner in this. And we are by
each other’s sides, and we are all slices of the same pie, if you will.
TRM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Roy: I want to highlight the absolute professionalism of the Soldiers
that I see here on Fort McCoy and the support that goes into providing
this absolutely critical training for our Airmen, along with our
Soldiers, Coast Guardsmen and Sailors.
It’s exciting for me to see this. But it’s also exciting for me to see
how we bring this joint team together. For those who are going through
the training, again, I highlight the missions that they’re about to do.
As we continue to surge in Afghanistan their role is going to become
increasingly important in both the kinetic and the nonkinetic aspects of
We have many advisers in both Afghanistan and in Iraq, and as we enter
into the next phase of the operations in Iraq, those air advisers and
combat advisers are so, so important to the continued success in that
theater, as well.
I can speak of that (what Airmen can gain from the training) personally.
I spent four years at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., as a young (Air Force) NCO
(noncommissioned officer). I was trained by the Army at the time as a
62E track, different AFS for us, but a heavy-equipment operator by the
Army. But I also trained the Army. I went back, and I was an instructor
I believe what it does for our Airmen is it gives them kind of an
insight into the operations of the Army. Obviously, it will help them —
the training itself will help them — in other missions they go on. It
will help them back at home station as they continue to do those
missions back home. Because it’s a different skill than what our Airmen
would have, typically, it also helps build the confidence of our Airmen,
What I believe it does for the Soldier is it allows them to understand
how professional our United States Air Force Airmen are and how
committed our Airmen are. We’re absolute partners in this.
We may see things in a different way. In a perfect joint world that is
exactly what we want. We cannot all think alike. We have to think
differently in order to come to the conclusions that we need to. That’s
a dynamic piece of joint operations.
So I believe what it does for Soldiers is it gives them insight into how
an Airman thinks as well and some of the skills the Airmen will bring