Alumni Profiles    

James A. Roy, '96
     Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

           Distinguished Alumnus, 2012

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is given to an alumnus/a who as distinguished himself or herself through career, service or community achievements.


Park University is honored to present the most prestigious alumni award to the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy, ’96.

Chief Roy represents the highest enlisted level of leadership, and as such, provides direction for the enlisted force and represents their interests, as appropriate, to the American public and to those in all levels of government. He serves as the personal adviser to the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, and proper utilization and progress of the enlisted force. Chief Roy is the 16th chief master sergeant appointed to the highest noncommissioned officer position.


President Michael Droge with
CMSAF James A. Roy, '96


Chief Roy grew up in Monroe, Mich., and entered the Air Force in September 1982. His background includes numerous leadership roles at squadron, group, numbered air force and combatant command levels. He has been stationed at locations in Florida, South Korea, Missouri, Guam, Mississippi, South Carolina, Virginia, Kuwait, Japan and Hawaii. He has worked a variety of civil engineer duties.

 He also served as a superintendent of a military personnel flight and a mission support group before becoming a command chief master sergeant at the wing, air expeditionary wing, numbered air force and combatant command levels. Before assuming his current position, Chief Roy served as Senior Enlisted Leader and adviser to the U.S. Pacific Command Combatant Commander and staff, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii. He was appointed to this position on June 30, 2009.

 Chief Roy attended Park University’s Fort Leonard Wood Campus Center where he earned his bachelors of science degree in engineering management, graduating summa cum laude in 1996. Park’s personalized support was what Chief Roy most appreciated. “Park was extremely helpful in carefully mapping my degree plan, taking into account the expeditionary nature of my military career. I was ensured of the courses I needed to stay on track, even after moving to my next assignment.”

 Park’s flexible program helped Chief Roy pursue and complete his degree. “Flexibility in educating the military is most important. While a member is serving, their education program must be flexible enough to sustain temporary remote duty, permanent changes of station and deployments,” Chief Roy said. “Our service members expect to work hard to earn college degrees, but when school conflicts with the mission, service to the nation will always come first. A program with built-in flexibility to accommodate these kinds of things is absolutely a must.”

 Chief Roy said the value of a college education makes a difference both inside and outside of the military. “The military establishes a clear line between officers and enlisted. One of the things associated with that line is a college degree,” he said. “It’s required for every level of commissioned officer service and not required for enlisted service. However, I believe enlisted leaders should acquire skills and knowledge necessary to support the execution of the mission­–whether it’s required or not. Senior enlisted leaders often advise our nation’s most senior military officers. A formal education helps them serve at the highest level to meet the demands of these critical positions.”

 As military veterans pursue civilian career paths, Chief Roy said employers recognize the value veterans bring to their companies. “Those who routinely hire veterans do so because they know they value punctual people who understand service and loyalty, and who generally work under a higher set of standards than many who have not served,” he said. “When employers get an opportunity to hire a veteran, they should consider the values built and instilled through military service.”

With the many challenges on the way to a degree for military servicepersons and veterans, Chief Roy offers advice from his own experience. “Don’t give up on your education. It is tougher to complete a degree while working full-time (and possibly raising a family), but you’ve got to keep pushing. Set a pace, find a program that can flex with your duty schedule, and keep at it. You’ll be proud of the degree you earn,” he said.

 The Air Force has always emphasized the value of a formal education. It’s part of the culture of Airmen who attend many professional military and leadership education courses throughout their careers. “I travel nine months out of the year, meeting and talking to Airmen,” Chief Roy said. “I see firsthand how well they are equipped and trained to do all they are asked in service to the nation. That is what inspires me every day.”

 Chief Roy and his wife, Paula, were high school sweethearts and recently celebrated 30 years of marriage. They live at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland with their twin 12-year-old sons, Caleb and Colby. After more than 30 years of service, Chief Roy will retire from the Air Force on January 31, 2013, and move with his family to Charleston, South Carolina.