Chief Master Sergeant of the United States Air Force
Headquarters US Air Force Badge.png
Headquarters Air Force Identification Badge
Flag of the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.svg
Flag of the CMSAF[1]
CMSgt JoAnne S. Bass.jpg
JoAnne S. Bass

since August 14, 2020 (2020-08-14)
United States Air Force
TypeSenior enlisted advisor
Member ofThe Air Staff[2]
Reports toChief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force
AppointerChief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force
FormationApril 3, 1967; 55 years ago (1967-04-03)
First holderPaul W. Airey
Salary$9,109.50 per month, regardless of the incumbent's service longevity[3]
WebsiteOfficial Website

The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (acronym: 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, unless an enlisted airman is serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman. The CMSAF 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 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.

The current Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force is Chief JoAnne S. Bass (/bæs/). On August 14, 2020, Chief Bass succeeded Chief Kaleth O. Wright, to become the 19th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.[4]

Although the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force is a non-commissioned officer, protocol states that the CMSAF has precedence over all lieutenant generals at joint events, and over all lieutenant generals except the Air Force Director of Staff at Air Force exclusive events.[5]

Rank insignia and positional colors

On November 1, 2004,[6] 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 which 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.[7]

The Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Chief Master Sergeant of the Space 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). The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force colors were authorized in January 2013.[8]

The official term of address for the CMSAF is "Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force" or "Chief."[9]

Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force

No. Portrait Name Term of office
Took office Left office Time in office
Airey pw-.jpg
Paul W. Airey


April 3, 1967 July 31, 1969 2 years, 119 days
Harlow dl.jpg
Donald L. Harlow


August 1, 1969 September 30, 1971 2 years, 60 days
Kisling rd3.jpg
Richard D. Kisling


October 1, 1971 September 30, 1973 1 year, 364 days
Barnes tn.jpg
Thomas N. Barnes


October 1, 1973 July 31, 1977 3 years, 303 days
Gaylor rd2.jpg
Robert D. Gaylor


August 1, 1977 July 31, 1979 1 year, 364 days
Mccoy jm.jpg
James M. McCoy


August 1, 1979 July 31, 1981 1 year, 364 days
Andrews al.jpg
Arthur L. Andrews


August 1, 1981 July 31, 1983 1 year, 364 days
Sam E. Parish.jpg
Sam E. Parish


August 1, 1983 June 30, 1986 2 years, 333 days
James C. Binnicker.jpg
James C. Binnicker


July 1, 1986 July 31, 1990 4 years, 30 days
Gary R. Pfingston.jpg
Gary R. Pfingston


August 1, 1990 October 25, 1994 4 years, 85 days
David J. Campanale.jpg
David J. Campanale


October 26, 1994 November 1, 1996 2 years, 6 days
Eric W. Benken.jpg
Eric W. Benken


November 5, 1996 July 30, 1999 2 years, 267 days
Frederick J. Finch.jpg
Frederick J. Finch


July 31, 1999 June 28, 2002 2 years, 332 days
Gerald R. Murray


July 1, 2002 June 30, 2006 3 years, 364 days
Rodney J. McKinley.jpg
Rodney J. McKinley


June 30, 2006 June 30, 2009 3 years, 0 days
CMSgt James A. Roy.jpg
James A. Roy


July 1, 2009 January 24, 2013 3 years, 207 days
CMSAF James Cody.jpg
James A. Cody


January 24, 2013 February 17, 2017 4 years, 24 days
CMSAF Wright.jpg
Kaleth O. Wright


February 17, 2017 August 14, 2020 3 years, 179 days
CMSgt JoAnne S. Bass.jpg
JoAnne S. Bass


August 14, 2020 Incumbent 2 years, 23 days

See also


  1. ^ "CMSAF Transition Ceremony". Retrieved January 31, 2020.
  2. ^ "Air Force Senior Leaders". Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  3. ^ "Monthly rates of Basic Pay (Enlisted) – effective January 1, 2020". Defense Financing and Accounting Service. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  4. ^ "Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Joanne S. Bass". United States Air Force. 14 August 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  5. ^[bare URL PDF]
  6. ^ Jablonski, Tech. Sgt. David A. "New CMSAF insignia debuts Nov. 1". Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  7. ^ "AFI-36-2903" (PDF). United States Air Force. 1 June 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  8. ^ CMSAF Transition Ceremony Archived February 17, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "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.