by Airman 1st Class Hailey Davis
18th Wing Public Affairs
2/20/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Thirty-three U.S. Airmen and Marines are attending a joint staff and senior NCO academy on Camp Hansen, Japan.
The Staff NCO Academy Advanced Course is an eight-week course where Air
Force master sergeants and Marine Corps gunnery sergeants learn various
styles of leadership and communication, and participate in physical
Class 2-13 graduates Feb. 27.
"The curriculum here is physical-training (intensive)," said Master Sgt.
Mark James, a student at the Staff NCO Academy and Erwin Professional
Military Education Airman Leadership School commandant. "It (also)
covers most of what Air Force PME covers, such as communications,
writing training documents, giving briefs and speeches, and evaluating
commander philosophy and intent."
James also explained how challenges that Marine Corps and Air Force
leadership faces as staff or senior NCOs are the same, as are
communication and first-line supervision.
"We're not alone," James said. "Every unit faces challenges and requires
first-line supervision to step up and that's one thing they've honed in
on here is the importance of first-line supervision."
Communication plays a huge role when participating in a joint combat
community, which is why this aspect of the course so important.
"No matter where we're at around the globe, we rely heavily on the Air
Force," said Gunnery Sgt. Marcus Reese, Staff NCO Academy faculty
advisor. "We bring (Airmen) in and see how they work so that when we go
forward into the area of operations, we've already established that
Not only does the course stress communication and supervision, it also incorporates physical training into the curriculum.
"We start off with physical training throughout the course, and build
into the war-fighting package," Reese said. "They go out and conduct
some combat task-oriented physical training such as the obstacle course.
The log wall and rope climb tests their stamina and endurance."
Reese also said the students participate in a squad competition where
they complete a medical evacuation stretcher run. Airmen and Marines
carry a "casualty" and gear they would have in the field. During this
run, they run 1.8 miles up a hill and back to the schoolhouse as part of
a team-building exercise.
"You'd be amazed at how much you push yourself and push your body when you know your team is relying on you," James said.