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Space Coast honors newest chiefs

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody lights the chief candle with retired Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Pannitto (left) during the Space Coast Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony March 5, 2016, in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The candle symbolizes the achievement and honor of earning the highest Air Force enlisted rank. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Means)

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody lights the chief candle with retired Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Pannitto (left) during the Space Coast Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony March 5, 2016, in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The candle symbolizes the achievement and honor of earning the highest Air Force enlisted rank. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Means)

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody lights the chief candle with retired Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Pannitto (left) during the Space Coast Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony March 5, 2016, in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The candle symbolizes the achievement and honor of earning the highest Air Force enlisted rank. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Means)

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody lights the chief candle with retired Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Pannitto (left) during the Space Coast Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony March 5, 2016, in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The candle symbolizes the achievement and honor of earning the highest Air Force enlisted rank. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Means)

Nine new Air Force chief master sergeants and chief selects raise their right hands and repeat the Chief's Oath during the Space Coast Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony March 5, 2016, in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Approximately one percent of Airmen achieve the rank of chief, the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Means)

Nine new Air Force chief master sergeants and chief selects raise their right hands and repeat the Chief's Oath during the Space Coast Chief Master Sergeant Recognition Ceremony March 5, 2016, in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Approximately one percent of Airmen achieve the rank of chief, the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Means)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody made a special visit to the Space Coast to welcome nine Airmen to the rank of chief master sergeant at a ceremony in Cocoa Beach, March 6.

"When you look at your stripes be proud of them. Becoming a chief doesn't happen overnight," Cody said. "You are here because of the support of your loved ones that have supported you along the way."

Cody expressed to the new chiefs that this is a lifetime commitment and as they continue to lead in the Air Force, they cannot forget they didn't accomplish this on their own.

"You are blessed to have young Airmen who are motivated and dedicated," he said. "They want to be here and have a passion to do what we do for our nation. You have the privilege, the honor and the ultimate responsibility of leading them as chief master sergeants."

Chiefs have great influence, and with that comes great responsibility, he said.
"Use it wisely and use it to the advancement of our Air Force, our Airmen and their families," said Cody. "Show our Airman that you care; be purposeful in supporting and leading the men and women that serve with you."

Cody asked everyone at the recognition ceremony to reflect and think about the Air Force and how the enlisted force for has evolved.

"Our Air Force is what it is today because of the Airmen before us," he said. "Now it is our job to make it a better Air Force for the airmen who come after us."

After sharing his knowledge, he thanked the Airmen and their families for their continued commitment.

Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing Commander, closed by offering praise and encouragement to the new chiefs, all those involved in the ceremony, mission partners and Cody.

"Thank you for all that you've given to get to this point but more so what you are going to give back to our Airmen in the future," Monteith said. "That's why you have been given that extra chevron."

Air Force Reserve Command honorees included Chief Master Sgt. Stacie Moore, 920th Security Forces Squadron and Chief Master Sgt. Shane Smith, 920th Operations Group.