Iraq's chief master sergeant of the Air Force speaks to Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy
The Iraqi chief master sergeant of the Air Force speaks Dec. 7 at the U.S. Air Force’s Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. During the visit, his first to the States, the chief heard from the Academy and other elements of Air University, regarding how the U.S. Air Force educates its Airmen across the spectrum of ranks. The chief was scheduled to make stops at other Air Education and Training Command bases during his time in the U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)
First Iraqi chief master sergeant of the Air Force visits Air University

by Scott Knuteson
Air University Public Affairs

12/9/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Iraq's first chief master sergeant of the Air Force visited Air University Dec. 7 to examine how the U.S. educates its Air Force.

The visit marks the first time the Iraqi chief has been to the U.S. and was designed to give him a sweeping look at enlisted and officer education across the spectrum of Airmen's careers.

His visit to Maxwell was part of a tour of a few Air Education and Training Command bases. While at Maxwell, the chief was briefed on a number of entities, including the First Sergeant Academy, Officer Training School and International Officer School.

He also met with his U.S. counterpart, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy, who was at Maxwell the same day. The two chiefs addressed the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

The Iraqi chief's visit will serve to reinforce U.S.-Iraqi ties, as well as bolster each air force's understanding of the other, Chief Roy said.

"The visit is of mutual benefit to both of us," he said. "It can only continue to strengthen our great relationship with Iraq and the Iraqi Air Force."

And the visit represents only a fraction of how the U.S. Air Force engages the Iraqi Air Force.

"We have air advisers working with the Iraqi Air Force every day," Chief Roy said. "They are there to advise and help Iraq continue to build their air force."

Chief Roy's visit to Air University comes on the heels of his visit to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, where the air advisers are trained. The AETC course resides within the expeditionary center there.

Cooperation among all levels of the military is crucial to partnering with other nations, Chief Roy said.

"I meet with my peers in different countries very frequently," Chief Roy said. "When we need to call upon them, or they need to call upon us, we've already established those relationships."

In a similar fashion, the enlisted, officer and civilian Airmen trained as air advisers will work with numerous countries' militaries, he said.

Just weeks before the Iraqi chief visited Air University, U.S. Air Force air advisers watched as Iraqi airmen completed their second-ever launch of a Hellfire missile from an AC-208 Cessna Caravan at Sather Air Base, near Baghdad, Iraq.

Maj. Devin Traynor, one of the air advisers present at the exercise Nov. 8, commented at the time on how air adviser involvement has been integral to such milestones.

"We have been working with our Iraqi partners on the various pieces that make up such a complex mission," Major Traynor said. "The air advisers have played a crucial role in developing these capabilities within the Iraqi air force."

The Iraqi chief was accompanied on his trip to the States by his air adviser, Chief Master Sgt. Scott Fuller, the command chief for the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing and Iraq Training and Advising Mission - Air Force, in Baghdad.

About 250 U.S. Airmen serve as air advisers to their Iraqi counterparts, said Master Sgt. Mike Edwards at the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs office. They play a crucial role in everything from fuels to transportation to maintenance, as well as flying aircraft. Almost everything that it would take to run an effective air force has an air adviser assigned to that mission.

After visiting Air University, the Iraqi chief master sergeant of the Air Force planned to visit Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases, Texas.