The ninth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James C. Binnicker speaks to Airmen during an NCO boot camp at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 20, 2012. Binnicker spoke with Airmen Sept. 19-21 about being resilient in today’s Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Craig Cisek)
Airmen attending an NCO boot camp at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, pose for a group photo with the ninth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James C. Binnicker, Sept. 20, 2012. The chief spoke with the group about being resilient in today’s Air Force. The NCO boot camp is a one-day course to prepare Senior Airmen for the transition to the NCO tier. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Craig Cisek)
The ninth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James C. Binnicker accepts the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action guideon from Airman 1st Class David Duffus during a symbolic retreat ceremony at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Sept. 20, 2012. Binnicker provided mentorship and guidance to Airmen during his two-day visit to the base. Duffus is with the 25th Fighter Squadron Aviation Resource Management office. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Craig Cisek)
by Airman 1st Class Alexis Siekert
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
9/21/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Osan Airmen were given the opportunity to meet with the ninth Chief Master Sgt. Of the Air Force James C. Binnicker here Sept. 19-21.
Chief Binnicker visited Airmen around base to discuss current issues affecting the Air Force today.
"We have challenges in today's Air Force, but there is one thing I challenge you all to fix -- suicide," Binnicker said in an enlisted call at the base theater. "This is an enlisted issue. We have to slow this down. We are averaging five or six suicides a week."
Binnicker attributed the increase risks of suicide to a lack of communication and stressed the importance of face-to-face interaction.
"You need to care about those around you and not just the ones you work with so you can identify when something is wrong," he said. "This is especially critical here at a remote base. Be there for each other."
He also spoke to students in Airman Leadership School and Osan's Noncommissioned Officer Boot Camp about accepting the responsibilities of being an NCO.
"Our NCO Corps is what makes us the most powerful Air Force in the world," the chief said. "It is now your responsibility to look after your people. Talk to them and get know them. That's caring."
During a breakfast with Osan Airmen, he said, "If your supervisors don't want the responsibility of taking care of their people, they need to get out and sell shoes."
Airman 1st Class Jessica Souza, 51st Mission Support Group knowledge operations manager, was enriched by the experience of meeting with the chief.
"He really stressed frontline supervision and being there for your people," she said. "Knowing your people so you can identify a problem before they reach a tipping point is so important."
Throughout the week, "getting back to the basics" was a reoccurring theme. Binnicker encouraged the Airmen to have fun.
"Have some good old fashion fun," he said. "Get involved on base, play sports, and leave your room doors open so you can get to know your neighbors. Make friends and look after each other."
Binnicker was also involved in a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action retreat ceremony Sept. 20, to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
He has been touring Air Force bases around the world for 22 years to "turn over rocks," he said.