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Taking care of Airmen first and foremost -Top enlisted Airman reaffirms pride, role of Wingmen

Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard Chris Muncy tours the 137th Space Warning Squadron?s equipment and facilities at Greeley Air National Guard Station in Colorado Sept. 9, 2009. Muncy made the visit to learn about the pulse of the ANG. (Official U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Rochell Smith, Colorado Air National Guard/Released)

Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard Chris Muncy tours the 137th Space Warning Squadron?s equipment and facilities at Greeley Air National Guard Station in Colorado Sept. 9, 2009. Muncy made the visit to learn about the pulse of the ANG. (Official U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Rochell Smith, Colorado Air National Guard/Released)

Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard Chris Muncy tours the 137th Space Warning Squadron?s equipment and facilities at Greeley Air National Guard Station in Colorado Sept. 9, 2009. Muncy made the visit to learn about the pulse of the ANG. (Official U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Rochell Smith, Colorado Air National Guard/Released)

Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard Chris Muncy tours the 137th Space Warning Squadron?s equipment and facilities at Greeley Air National Guard Station in Colorado Sept. 9, 2009. Muncy made the visit to learn about the pulse of the ANG. (Official U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Rochell Smith, Colorado Air National Guard/Released)

Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard Chris Muncy tours the 137th Space Warning Squadron?s equipment and facilities at Greeley Air National Guard Station in Colorado Sept. 9, 2009. Muncy made the visit to learn about the pulse of the ANG. (Official U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Rochell Smith, Colorado Air National Guard/Released)

Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard Chris Muncy tours the 137th Space Warning Squadron?s equipment and facilities at Greeley Air National Guard Station in Colorado Sept. 9, 2009. Muncy made the visit to learn about the pulse of the ANG. (Official U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Rochell Smith, Colorado Air National Guard/Released)

GREELEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD STATION, Colo. (9/9/09) -- Staying connected, recognition and pride were the themes spoken by the top enlisted Air National Guard leader during his visit to the 137th Space Warning Squadron.

Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard Chris Muncy made the visit to learn about the pulse of the ANG and to reaffirm his commitment to the Air Guardsmen.

Muncy noted the push for chiefs and first sergeants to make time to talk to their traditional troops on more than a traditional basis. "Text somebody during the month. Call them during the month, talk to them. Stay connected," he said.

To make his point, Muncy pointed to 12 suicides and other non-combat deaths of Air Guardsmen this year alone. "There's just a lot of life that's hitting our folks out there and we can't afford to lose one. ... Let them know there's hope. ... The rest of the world is telling them different when we need to rally around them. ... Reach out and call somebody. Call your Airman. Call your Wingman. Call your battle buddy. Let them know you care.

"This is family. Reach to us," he said. "This job's never been two days a month and fifteen days out of the year. ... It's all the time."

Muncy also said he was amazed at the commitment of today's Airmen. While less than one percent of the American population serves in the military, the majority of the population doesn't understand the National Guard's role, he said.

"To be proud of what you do, to be able to talk about it when you've got (the mainstream media saying) you shouldn't do this, that's tough on our Airmen," said Muncy. "But when they've got pride, they know how good they are. They know ... how critical they are to national defense and they can stand up to all the peer pressure.

"You are unique and ... weird, compared to your peer group," he said of today's Airmen. "(But) if you've got pride in what you do, then you're going to love your job and you're going to want to stick with it. That's a Guardsman."

Muncy also gave his personal coin to 137th Security Forces Flight members Senior Airmen Jonathan Harris and Amanda Holmes, for the junior troops' outstanding performance.

"It's not a huge thing, but it's something. It represents all of us, all ... 94,675 enlisted Airmen in the Air National Guard and almost 109,000 Airmen total," said Muncy. "Recognition: it drives us all because you're definitely not going to get rich doing this.

"I listen to the chiefs and the senior (noncommissioned officers) and the commanders. They'll tell you: This is our future. We're only borrowing these stripes because someone else is going to take them pretty soon, so you want to make sure you're still encouraging them."