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AFRC Command Chief visits Tinker Reservists, Q & A

AFRC Command Chief Cameron B. Kirksey sits down for an interview with the 507th Air Refueling Wing public affairs team August 8, 2015, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.  Kirksey has visited more than 20 Reserve units during his tenure as command chief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

AFRC Command Chief Cameron B. Kirksey sits down for an interview with the 507th Air Refueling Wing public affairs team August 8, 2015, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Kirksey has visited more than 20 Reserve units during his tenure as command chief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Senior Airman Tyler J. Miner, a bioenvironmental engineering technician with the 507th Medical Squadron, escorts AFRC Command Chief Cameron B. Kirksey to the second floor of the medical clinic during a tour August 8, 2015, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Kirksey visited every unit within the 507th Air Refueling Wing during a three-day visit to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

Senior Airman Tyler J. Miner, a bioenvironmental engineering technician with the 507th Medical Squadron, escorts AFRC Command Chief Cameron B. Kirksey to the second floor of the medical clinic during a tour August 8, 2015, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Kirksey visited every unit within the 507th Air Refueling Wing during a three-day visit to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

AFRC Command Chief Cameron B. Kirksey checks out photos with Master Sgt. David L. Wallis, an engine mechanic with the 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during a three-day tour of the 507th Air Refueling Wing August 9, 2015, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Kirksey has visited more than 20 Reserve units during his tenure as command chief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

AFRC Command Chief Cameron B. Kirksey checks out photos with Master Sgt. David L. Wallis, an engine mechanic with the 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during a three-day tour of the 507th Air Refueling Wing August 9, 2015, at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Kirksey has visited more than 20 Reserve units during his tenure as command chief. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

AFRC Command Chief Cameron B. Kirksey fields questions from a select group of 507th Air Refueling Wing Airmen during lunch August 9, 2015, at the Vanwey Dining Facility at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Kirksey said he was very impressed with the professionalism and high morale of the 507 ARW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

AFRC Command Chief Cameron B. Kirksey fields questions from a select group of 507th Air Refueling Wing Airmen during lunch August 9, 2015, at the Vanwey Dining Facility at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Kirksey said he was very impressed with the professionalism and high morale of the 507 ARW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The Air Force Reserve Command chief master sergeant, Chief Master Sgt. Cameron B. Kirksey, visited the 507th Air Refueling Wing during the August Unit Training Assembly 7-9 August.  During the visit the Chief discussed many important issues to Reservists.  Below is a question and answer session conducted by public affairs during his visit.

Q & A, Chief Master Sgt. Cameron B. Kirksey, AFRC Command Chief

Q. How is the Reserve command planning on funding STP orders for Airmen following technical training?

Chief Master Sgt. Kirksey:  Seasoning Training Program, or STP, is allocated $120 million each year. This year, we changed the process for allocating funds by going back to the drawing board and having discussions with our wing commanders about the need for earmarking STP funds in such a way that the commands know which funds are allocated specifically for seasoning training.

Q. If approved, how do you think the proposed changes to the Guard/Reserve retirement system will affect Airmen? 

Chief Master Sgt. Kirksey:  Less than 40 percent of every Airman who serves walks away with a retirement. Certainly, we looked at other approaches so every Airman can walk away with something. We don't want any less of a benefit than what we currently earn. We are analyzing the changes to see the positives as well as the pinch points. We feel these changes are certainly justifiable to ensure that the member is duly paid for the time served.

Q. What do you believe is the most beneficial new change in the Enlisted Evaluation System (EPRS) for Reservists?

Chief Master Sgt. Kirksey: For me, the greatest benefit is being able to gauge actual performance. Before, 83 percent of all Airmen eligible to receive a rating received a five.  With the new enlisted evaluation system, the focus is on leadership, job performance, and who we recommend for promotion. Coupled with the new performance feedback form, we will be able to easily identify the strong swimmers who are deserving of promotion.

Q. Will there be more opportunities for Reservists to deploy or volunteer for active duty tours in the near future?

Chief Master Sgt. Kirksey: 85 percent of my community is part time. We are the smallest, most widespread, fully-tasked Air Force than we've ever been.  The current ops tempo will be our steady state, our new norm. We went back to drawing board to analyze the deployment process, and devised Reserve Component Periods, or RCP's. RCP's are no longer UTC-driven, but rather a bucket system where the squadron as a whole is deployed, returned home and reconstituted. It adheres to the mobilization to dwell time we are in line with. 

Q. What did you think about your visit to the 507 ARW?

Chief Master Sgt. Kirksey: When I walked into the Friday afternoon staff meeting, I received a warm welcome and took note of the attendance; it was the largest staff meeting I had attended on my base visits. The energy in the room was so accommodating, and I could only imagine what the rest of the wing would be like.

We started off at 7 o'clock, rolled right into the meeting and then went out to meet the Airmen.   Everybody was full of energy on a bright Saturday morning; we had good conversations about issues important to the Airmen.  Morale is high, and everyone appeared to be in good spirits. Things are clicking on the right cylinders here in the 507 ARW.