Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force attend Andersen's leadership school

by Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
36th Wing Public Affairs

2/12/2013 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- For the first time ever, service members from Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard attend the Airman Leadership School scheduled to graduate Feb. 19.

This is the first class in Andersen ALS history with a Coast Guard student, and the second class with Navy participation.

ALS prepares and trains future NCOs for increased responsibilities and is one of many professional military education courses in the Air Force. ALS classes cover topics from military professionalism, Airmen supervision, verbal and written communication and group dynamics.

Tech. Sgt. Esperanza Urbano, 36th Force Support Squadron ALS instructor, said the whole intent of mixing the branches is to give Airmen the opportunity to work side-by-side with sister services. According to her, a significant number of Airmen who go through ALS have neither deployed nor worked in a joint environment.

"We have that sister-service rivalry, which is great, but at the end of the day we have to respect and recognize what everyone brings to the table," said Sergeant Urbano. "This class gives the Airmen an opportunity to learn from their fellow service members' personal accounts on what their branch does and how they operate."

Direct interaction also helps clear misconceptions about the role of each branch and what they bring to the fight.

"It's a great learning experience," said Senior Airman Melissa Durkin-Willman, 734th Air Mobility Squadron air terminal operations center information controller. "Especially working at the ATOC, I work with different branches that go through the flightline. That's why it is great to interact with the Navy and the Coast Guard and learn their role in the military."

Though the curriculum was written specifically to prepare Air Force NCOs, students from outside of the Air Force did not have a hard time grasping the fundamentals.

"It wasn't a huge difference," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Michael Decker, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron TWO FIVE. "I had to learn certain forms and procedures and get used to ranks and enlisted performance reports, but the material on bullet writing and counseling was pretty much the same across the board."

Sergeant Urbano said the class integrated really well, and the concept really helps students to be exposed to a joint learning environment.

"The students we have in this class have reached out to one another and have come together very well. I think with any class, it just depends on the dynamics and the personalities of the students involved. This particular class has been performing very well as a team."

The ALS instructors are trying to make this a more permanent dynamic. Future classes will continue to be open to Coast Guard and Navy E-5s.

"This class gave me the chance to learn the culture of the other branches," said AM2 Decker. "Diversity is a good thing. When you're around people who have different perspectives, it helps you grow and see the bigger picture. It gave me a better outlook on how to adjust to people, reach out and provide assistance if needed. The class gave me a more in-depth understanding on what I have to do as a supervisor."

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