by CMSgt Atticus C. Smith, USAF
I heard it the first time when I received my line number to master sergeant: “Welcome to the senior noncommissioned officer tier, your judgment and discretion will be relied upon more now than ever before in your career.” That statement has rung true so many times since then but never as prevalent as at a previous assignment.
While serving as Commandant of the Kirtland NCO Academy, I was confronted with a decision on whether or not to graduate a student, a professional NCO, who had difficulty in one area of study. Within professional military education there is procedural guidance that dictates the steps when a student is academically challenged. At some point, the flow chart will tell you to graduate or release the student. In this particular case, the chart told me to release the student. But was this the right thing to do for the Air Force?