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Every moment counts: A day in the life of CMSAF JoAnne S. Bass

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class De'Quan Simmons
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. - Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass recently visited Scott Air Force Base and held a base-wide all-call July 7.

As the voice of the Air Force’s enlisted corps, Chief Bass travels worldwide visiting Air Force installations and ensuring the voices of the enlisted force are heard. Bass lives a demanding life, overseeing the enlisted force and serving as the principal advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force. 

Scott Air Force Base is home of U.S. Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, 375th Air Mobility Wing, and 618th Air Operations Center just to name a few. Scott also hosts Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard components, the 932nd Airlift Wing and 126th Air Refueling Wing.

During her visit, she began her workday as usual by waking up at 4:30 a.m. and at the gym by 5 a.m., where she enjoys exercising to either an audiobook or her favorite 90s music.

“We go to the gym first thing in the morning because we won’t have time in the afternoon,” said Bass. “It also gives you time to get your mind right and start the day positively.”

Bass' long workday began after her morning workout and included visits to the 375th Medical Group, 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, and 458th Airlift Squadron. She also spoke with Airmen during breakfast, the NCO corps during lunch, and held a base-wide all call.

At her first stop, a breakfast with Airmen at the Nightingale Inn Dining Facility on Scott, Bass spoke about a variety of topics, including quality of life, career advancement and culture fostering.

At the 375th MDG, Bass was briefed on MHS Genesis, the military’s new electronic health record. Members of the 375th MDG discussed challenges they faced while integrating the new system and how to streamline services for their patients.

Under a bright Illinois sun, Bass visited the 375th AES, where she was given an overview of training and operational capabilities while touring the cargo compartment trainer and fuselage trainer.  

Mid-day, when many members relax to eat, Bass continues in her duty to represent the enlisted corps by holding a lunch with NCOs from Scott. During this meal, the group discussed the importance of being a leader, maintaining standards, and resolving issues at the lowest possible level. 

“NCOs really are the backbone of the Air Force,” said Bass. “We rely on you to maintain standards. We want to resolve issues at the lowest possible level. You’re an NCO, the buck is supposed to stop with you.”

Bass held an all-call, a wide open discussion between her and Airmen, and touched on areas for development, shortcomings, and changes coming in the future for the Air Force. The discussion took place under the cover of Hangar 1, against a backdrop of a towering American flag. Questions were not filtered, and presented Bass with the opportunity to answer a laundry list of items that were on Airmen’s mind. 

The all-call allowed Airmen to participate in open dialogue with the highest enlisted member of the Air Force and gain valuable insight into the future of the force. It, in turn, allowed Bass to pick the brains of these Airmen.

“What do you think is our biggest weakness currently?” asked Airman 1st Class Juliua Dimuna, 375th Communications Squadron cybersecurity technician.

In response to the question asked by Dimuna, Bass stressed the danger of information warfare by foreign adversaries harming future generations. 

“When you look at the version of TikTok allowed in China, versus the one that exists here, they are totally different,” said Bass. “Theirs promotes more educational content, and aligns with their social credit system, while ours promotes more humor and entertainment, and aligns with keeping users on the platform longer. If we do nothing, it's going to influence the next generation and put us behind.”

Airmen and Chief Bass continued to trade questions during the all-call, which concluded with her closing out and taking time to interact and take pictures. 

As the day came to a close, Bass continued to adhere to her tight schedule for the day, visiting the familiar faces of C-21 pilots, whom she flies with commonly, at the 458th Airlift Squadron, and stopping by Zeppelin’s to interact with Airmen during the monthly First Friday event. 

Bass and her support team, Team 19, work a vigorous schedule. A base visit is just one of the possible adventures of CMSAF, which also consists of attending ceremonial events and participating in policy discussions. With such a tedious schedule, it can be difficult to make time for family and loved ones.

“We try to be home on the weekends as much as we can,” said Bass. 

Reaching the end of a long day and an even longer work week, Bass was wheels-up and on her way back to Joint Base Andrews in DC, but as Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, you’re never really off the clock–every moment counts.