Kaleth Wright became the 18th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force during a ceremony at JB Andrews, Md., on Feb. 17. Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said Wright rose up through the dental career field, and has served as a military education instructor and deployed in support of Operations Desert Storm, Desert Shield, and Enduring Freedom. Wright, who joined the Air Force in 1989, most recently served as the Command Chief Master Sergeant of US Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein AB, Germany. He is the second African-American CMSAF—the first since Thomas Barnes served in the position from 1973-1977. “He consistently led by example,” Goldfein said during the ceremony, adding that he expected Wright to be “a servant of airmen and a voice for their families.” Wright replaces CMSAF James Cody, who retired after more than 30 years in uniform. Cody “epitomized the servant leader,” Goldfein said, as he performed over 120 base visits, including six to the Middle East, and traveled an average of 220 days per year over his four-year tenure. Acting Secretary of the Air Force Lisa Disbrow said Cody “advocated on behalf of our airmen” as a strong supporter of victims of sexual assault and of wounded warriors. “Our Air Force is unmatched because of your efforts,” Disbrow added.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.