USSOCOM CSM visits Cannon
By Tech. Sgt. Manuel Martinez, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 13, 2016
CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Command Sgt. Maj. William Thetford, senior enlisted advisor of U.S. Special Operations Command, visited with Cannon’s Air Commandos Jan. 6-8.
During the visit, Thetford met with Airmen in various work centers to ensure they understood their critical role in the USSOCOM mission, held an enlisted all-call to share the future challenges for the command and give Air Commandos a forum to share their concerns, and hosted a roundtable with mental health experts and other helping agencies.
In an interview with the 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs office, Thetford emphasized the importance of every role within the 27th SOW.
“I want everybody in 27th Special Operations Wing to understand the magic that happens there on the target that cannot happen without a whole lot of teamwork,” said Thetford. “Your proximity to where that kinetic strike is does not equate to how important your function is.”
Thetford explained that the operations tempo of SOCOM is not going to slow down; in fact, leadership is asking the command to take on more roles.
Thetford’s concerns went beyond the mission to the quality of care Cannon provides to Airmen and their families. In a roundtable with mental health experts and representatives from Cannon’s various helping agencies, Thetford asked about the effectiveness of Preservation of the Force and Families initiatives available to all Air Commandos.
“All the POTFF programs are very important to us and every level of leadership gets it,” said Thetford. “I want everyone at the lower level, the airman level, to get it and not try to maintain this attitude that if they ask for help people will think they are not ready for the challenge—no, no; we all need a little help from time to time.”
When Thetford was not sharing the command messages, he was getting to know the mission. He flew on an AC-130W Stinger II for a live-fire demonstration. Thetford also had an aerial tour of the area aboard a CV-22 Osprey.
The trip was his first visit to Cannon and he was impressed by the performance and professionalism of Cannon’s Air Commandos.
“It is a privilege to meet so many enthusiastic Air Force professionals,” Thetford said. “The work being done at Cannon truly is impressive. As the SOCOM tempo keeps increasing, it is good to know that we have Airmen who can own the fight forward.”