Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
CMSAF James A. Cody

since January 24, 2013
Formation April 3, 1967
First holder Paul W. Airey
Website Official Website

The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF) is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Air Force. The holder of this rank and position of office, represents the highest enlisted level of leadership in the Air Force, and as such, provides direction for the enlisted corps and represents their interests, as appropriate, to the American public, and to those in all levels of government. The one exception to the status of the CMSAF as the highest-ranking enlisted member of the Air Force, which has yet to occur, is when an Air Force sergeant is serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this instance, the SEAC would outrank the CMSAF. The CMSAF is appointed by the Air Force Chief of Staff (AF/CC) and serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the Air Force Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, and proper utilization and progress of the enlisted force. While the CMSAF is a non-commissioned officer, the billet is protocol equivalent to a lieutenant general.[1]

The current Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force is Chief James A. Cody. On November 16, 2016, the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Goldfein, announced that Chief Kaleth O. Wright would succeed Chief Cody to become the 18th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.[2]

Rank Insignia and Positional Colors

On November 1, 2004,[3] the CMSAF's rank insignia was updated to include the Great Seal of the United States of America and two stars in the upper field. This puts the insignia in line with those of the Army and Marine Corps who have similar insignia to denote their senior enlisted servicemen. The laurel wreath around the star in the lower field remained unchanged to retain the legacy of the Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force.

The CMSAF wears distinctive collar insignia. Traditionally, enlisted airmen's collar insignia was silver-colored "U.S." within a ring. The CMSAF's collar brass replaced the standard ring with a silver laurel wreath. The CMSAF also wears a distinctive cap device. Enlisted airmen's cap device is the Coat of Arms of the United States, surrounded by a ring, all struck from silver-colored metal. Much as with the position's distinctive collar brass, the ring is replaced with a laurel wreath for the CMSAF. The Sergeant Major of the Army wears an identical cap device, albeit of gold-colored metal.[4]

The Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman are the only members of the United States armed forces below the rank of brigadier general/rear admiral, lower half to be authorized a positional color (flag). First considered in 1992,[5] the SMA's color has been authorized since 22 March 1999.[6] The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force colors were authorized in January 2013.[7]

The official term of address for the CMSAF is "Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force" or "Chief."[8]

Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force

# Picture Name Tenure from Tenure to
1 Paul W. Airey April 3, 1967 July 31, 1969
2 Donald L. Harlow August 1, 1969 September 30, 1971
3 Richard D. Kisling October 1, 1971 September 30, 1973
4 Thomas N. Barnes October 1, 1973 July 31, 1977
5 Robert D. Gaylor August 1, 1977 July 31, 1979
6 James M. McCoy August 1, 1979 July 31, 1981
7 Arthur L. Andrews August 1, 1981 July 31, 1983
8 Sam E. Parish August 1, 1983 June 30, 1986
9 James C. Binnicker July 1, 1986 July 31, 1990
10 Gary R. Pfingston August 1, 1990 October 25, 1994
11 David J. Campanale October 26, 1994 November 1, 1996
12 Eric W. Benken November 5, 1996 July 30, 1999
13 Frederick J. Finch July 31, 1999 June 28, 2002
14 Gerald R. Murray July 1, 2002 June 30, 2006
15 Rodney J. McKinley June 30, 2006 June 30, 2009
16 James A. Roy July 1, 2009 January 24, 2013
17 James A. Cody January 24, 2013 February 2017
18 Kaleth O. Wright February 2017 Present

See also


  1. Department of the Air Force Protocol Precedence List
  2. "CSAF Announces CMSAF #18". Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  3. Jablonski, Tech. Sgt. David A. "New CMSAF insignia debuts Nov. 1". Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  4. "AFI-36-2903" (PDF). United States Air Force. 1 June 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  5. Elder, p. 40.
  6. U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry .
  7. CMSAF Transition Ceremony Archived February 17, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. "AFI-36-2618 Enlisted Force Structure" (PDF). United States Air Force. 27 February 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 March 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
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