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AIRLANT Force Master Chief Visits Commands

by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tatyana Freeman
04 October 2023 When Force Master Chief Jimmy W. Hailey III assumed his role at Naval Air Force Atlantic (AIRLANT) in April of this year, he had a clear goal in mind.

FORCM Hailey visits
SLIDESHOW | 6 images | Force Master Chief Haily Visits 230802-N-N0783-1003 FALLON, Nev. (Aug. 2, 2023) Force Master Chief Jimmy Hailey, center, the force master chief of Naval Air Force Atlantic (AIRLANT), poses for a photo with Sailors assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 during a visit. Hailey is visiting a number of AIRLANT's subordinate commands to meet with Sailors and hear what's on their minds and see what he and the command can do support them better. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Kristina Polverino)
“I’m excited to meet our Sailors and see what’s on their minds and to address those things,” said Hailey shortly after taking charge.

He has done just that- visiting a variety of commands, from aircraft carriers, to fixed-wing and rotary-wing squadrons in the Hampton Roads area. He has also traveled across the country to visit with Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facilities, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School, and Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing Atlantic in Jacksonville, Florida; Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1 in Patuxent River, Maryland; Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 in Fallon, Nevada; and even across the Atlantic to visit Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 79 in Rota, Spain.

“I typically like to meet with the command’s leadership if they are available, recognize some Sailors that are doing good work with a coin, and maybe meet with the chief petty officer mess or some other paygrades within the command,” Hailey said of his visits. “Some commands have a very structured visit put together, others just like to walk me around and show some great things that their Sailors are doing – both are okay as I see it and make for great visits.”

As Force Master Chief, Hailey is the voice for all of the enlisted Sailors to the commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, currently Rear Adm. Douglas Verissimo, to help shape intent and policy. Hailey also serves as a mentor for all of the command master chiefs in the AIRLANT domain. His visits serve to collect the enlisted voices of the fleet, from top to bottom, in order to help effect change from the responses he receives, and to show that AIRLANT as a whole cares about every Sailor under its command.

“I have received quite a bit of feedback from the many chief petty officer messes that I have spent time with, and I make time to talk with junior Sailors as well to find out what is on their mind,” said Hailey.

Another way Hailey speaks to some of the junior enlisted Sailors is with a monthly luncheon called “Fridays with Force”. Command master chiefs (CMCs) from commands under AIRLANT nominate E-5 and below Sailors to have lunch and speak with Hailey. Civilian clothes are worn to promote open discussion, which gives the Sailors a chance to discuss openly what is on their mind and what challenges AIRLANT or the Navy can address for them.  

“Once a quarter, I will take all of the inputs I get from the Sailors, pull the commands and rank information off of it, and share it with all of AIRLANTs major command CMCs so they also know what is on junior Sailors’ minds,” said Hailey. “I have done this four times now and I really look forward to [the lunches] as it gives an opportunity for me to meet with some Sailors that may not always get the chance to chat with me.”

For the Sailors Hailey has already visited, their words have already started to effect change at the AIRLANT level.

“There are a lot of things that we have discovered through these visits, mostly in the quality of life and quality of work realm, and they are in the works,” said Hailey. “Any time that I am privileged to tell a Sailor thank you for their hard work is always fun for me, and typically the highlight of any command visits,” said Hailey.

Naval Air Force Atlantic is responsible for six nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, 54 aircraft squadrons, 1,200 aircraft and 43,000 officers, enlisted and civilian personnel based on the East Coast of the United States. It provides combat ready, sustainable naval air forces with the right personnel, properly trained and equipped, with a focus on readiness, operational excellence, interoperability, safety, and efficient resourcing.
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