Staff Sgt. Mike Hamm, left, 116th Air Control Wing, explains to Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody the role of each knob within the J-Star aircraft. Cody met with more than 2,000 Airmen while visiting Robins Air Force Base, Ga., June 24-25, 2014. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kelly Goonan)
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody addresses Airmen during an enlisted call June 24, 2014, at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. During the visit, Cody met with more than 2,000 Reserve, Guard and active-duty Airmen and spoke about key issues in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kelly Goonan)
Airman First Class Jesse Charran-Sankar of the 78th Medical Group gasps when Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody announces that he has been awarded senior airman below the zone and will be promoted six months in advance. Col. James H. Dienst, right, 78th MDG commander, uses Cody’s cell phone so Charran-Sankar’s mother could see her son’s reaction on a video chat. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kelly Goonan)
7/2/2014 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody visited the base June 24 and 25. During the visit Cody held an All Call to express his appreciation to Robins Airmen.
The one-hour discussion highlighted several topics, including force structure, the promotion system and what it means to serve in the Air Force.
He spent several minutes encouraging the Airmen in the audience to think about why they serve.
"If this is a job and it's just about collecting a paycheck, then you're going to get disconnected quickly in what we ask you to do," he said. "There's never a bad reason to come into our Air Force. None. Why you stay is important."
It's a family affair for Cody. His wife, Athena, is a retired chief master sergeant, and his son is currently in the Air Force. Family is family, he said, whether they include your parents, siblings or even the Airmen sitting next to you.
"We care about you, and we care about your families," Cody said.
Nearly 30 years ago when he and his wife joined the service, the Air Force was almost 600,000 Airmen strong, he said, alluding to how the size of the future force will continue to change.
"We have not grown one Airman since that day; yet we are more engaged around the world than we've ever been in the history of our country," Cody said.
Young Airmen serving today are experiencing the longest sustaining combat operations in a smaller Air Force than ever before, leaving behind that legacy to their country.
"By the end of fiscal 2015, we will be the smallest Air Force since we became a separate branch of service in 1947," he said.
Despite upcoming, past and present challenges, Cody expressed that he and other AF senior leaders couldn't be more proud of today's Airmen. To be able to come and say thank you in person was one of the main reasons he visited Robins.
"You are valued and appreciated every single day. Every decision we're making in the Air Force - even the tough ones - you're a part of that," he said.
His two-day visit also included learning key issues that affect Airmen from across the 78th Air Base Wing, the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, 116th and 461st Air Control wings and the 5th Combat Communications Group.