TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Within the U.S. military, there are specialty positions to assist with a plethora of complex issues that affect all ranks and all branches. One such position is the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Command Sgt. Maj. John Wayne Troxell currently holds this position, and made a visit to Tyndall April 22-25, 2018.
The Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is designated the senior noncommissioned officer in the U.S. armed forces. This position is appointed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve as an advisor to the Chairman and the Secretary of Defense on all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force, and joint development for enlisted personnel.
In addition to these duties, Troxell also has an obligation to service members in all branches.
“My responsibilities are the utilization and education of the joint enlisted force,” Troxell said. “I am also responsible for the health of the joint enlisted force. Even though, I am in the Army, I am responsible, much like [U.S. Marine Corps] Gen. [Joseph F.] Dunford, for all the services. My key function is to go out around the world and gain the pulse of the joint force for the Chairman and the Secretary. I do this by engaging with Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coastguardsmen, and understanding what challenges they may have out there. I then report that back, not only to my two bosses, but also to Congress and the administration.”
During his time at Tyndall, Troxell spent time with Airmen, receiving briefs about their sections’ various missions and conducting all-calls to ensure their hard work was recognized.
“We have warfighting advantages in every domain against potential adversary -- air, ground, maritime, cyber, nuclear, space – you name it,” he said. “The greatest advantage we have is in the human domain. No other nation in the world trains, educates, trusts and empowers people like us. Mostly, no other country in the world [does this] for enlisted leaders like the United States military does.”
A key focus and common theme of Troxell’s visit was the importance of the joint warfighting effort with all branches of the military, and shaking the stigma of one branch being better than the other.
“The common advantages are learning the holistic understanding of how the joint force operates,” he elaborated. “You also learn the culture of other services are and what other service folks of same rank and grade responsibilities and duties are. The only disadvantage of serving in a joint environment is shutting off the learning."
“We become very parochial,” he continued. “A Soldier says, ‘I know the Army is the best service, and we are doing things right, and I could really care less as to what the other services are doing.’ We’ve got to come into a joint environment with a learning attitude.”
Speaking in the same vein, he addressed the importance to Total Force Integration.
“The Air Force, in my opinion, is setting the standard for total force integration,” he said. “When you look at potentials for high-end conflicts with people like North Korea or Russia, we have to be all hands on deck. We can’t just be an active force that is ready to fight and deploy. Our Reserve and Guard forces have to be prepared as well and need to be integrated."
“I was with an F-22 [Raptor] squadron in Hawaii,” he added. “The pilots were active duty, the supply and Human Resources folks were Reservists and the mechanics were National Guard – I couldn’t tell the difference until they told me. We need to keep pushing forward with TFI across the Department of Defense as we move forward.”
Troxell ended his visit by sharing a few parting words on his impressions with Tyndall and what he learned.
“I’m absolutely impressed with the leadership, the motivation, discipline and focus of all the troops down here,” he said. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t fully understand the mission here at Tyndall and in the 325th Fighter Wing until I got down here and talked with the Airmen on the flightlines and other places that are getting after the mission. I now have a greater appreciation."
“This trip has reaffirmed what I already knew, that this a high performing installation and organization, he continued. “The troops are getting after the mission. To all the Airmen out there – keep after it.”