Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Friday, April 26, 2013

Leadership not defined by shapes, sizes

Commentary by Col. Jerry Wizda
39th Medical Group commander

4/26/2013 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (AFNS) -- Short in stature at 5 feet 4 inches, not particularly handsome, a bookworm and not exactly the life of the party, James Madison does not fit some perceptions of a leader.

In today's world, he probably would have been perceived as a nerd. But, his brilliant mind and leadership skills now have historians re-embracing Madison's presidency and his leadership.

President Madison is best known as "The Father of the Constitution." He was a delegate, unequaled in his writing abilities, who kept written documentation at every secret Constitutional Convention's meeting. Later, his Virginia Plan became the basis for our Constitution. What most people do not remember is President Madison's equally successful presidency, when he led an infant nation against the greatest naval power in the world and won. The War of 1812 remains "The Forgotten War." Many do not realize it was through President Madison's leadership the U.S. escaped becoming, once again, subjects of Great Britain.

So what personal attributes made this man an unlikely leader, and what can you take from the story of President Madison and apply to today's world to make you a leader?

First, always believe in yourself and never doubt your abilities. This is probably the hardest perception to embrace. Each day when President Madison went to the Constitutional Convention meetings, he stood up and rallied for a democratic government with election of congressmen directly by the people. He wrote the Federalist Papers with John Jay and Alexander Hamilton; documents considered to be the best interpretation of American government, even in present times. He truly embraced his ideals, and this spurred him to speak and write what was in his heart. His conviction to his ideals gave us the great nation we have today. At work, strive to be the best you can be. Work from your heart. If you give already 100 percent, strive to give 110 percent.

Secondly, stay true to yourself and stand by your convictions. After President Madison asked Congress to declare war on Great Britain June 1, 1812, riots began because of the decision. Talk of succession in New England ran rampant. But, President Madison stayed true to his belief in freedom for America. And, despite opposition to the war, he stood his ground. He said, "If we lose, we lose independence." People will perceive you as a leader if you stick to your beliefs and do not go back and forth on your ideals. Even those who do not agree with you will respect you for your steadfast loyalty and convictions.

Lastly, know when to stay and know when to run. Even the best leaders must give up the fight at some point for the sake of their people. On August 24, 1814, President Madison and Congress fled Washington on horseback as the British advanced on the city. While it may have been perceived as cowardly to run, fleeing the city was the only choice President Madison had.

If he had a chosen to stay and ordered Congress to stay, they would have been captured or killed. Merely three days after fleeing, President Madison returned to Washington, rallied the citizens, and connected with the people like he never had before. President Madison rallied Congress and met in a post office, the only building left standing. He began the work of the government from scratch and turned the tide of war. Think carefully about your decisions and of the consequences down the road. Is the fight worth it?

Not all of us will become president, but each in our own way, can be a successful leader. Every day we make decisions that affect our families, the Air Force and its Airmen, and our country. Many of these decisions are simple, and many can be life-altering. If we embrace the lessons of our forefathers, we are sure to become successful Airmen and leaders in our own right.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kadena resiliency program adapts, grows

by Staff Sgt. Rachelle Coleman
18th Wing Public Affairs

4/22/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- One year ago, base helping agencies joined forces to create a web-based resiliency school to promote and increase education.

The program, called Kadena Leadership Pathways, is open to all military members, active duty, guard and reservist, as well as Department of Defense civilians and dependents. It is based on the four pillars of fitness -- mental, social, physical and spiritual -- and encourages taking a proactive approach to comphrehensive mental fitness.

Information on the needs of the community was collected with a community assessment survey through the integrated delivery system and community action and information board. The IDS is a program which links all helping agencies on base including the chapels, mental health, health and wellness center, and Airman and family readiness center. The CAIB is a board of agencies which communicates the needs of the base populace with commanders.

According to Chaplain (Maj.) Randy Sellers, IDS chairperson, the purpose is to provide classes from the helping agencies on base, to help fortify Airmen in resiliency and leadership and to provide a single forum to show what all of the agencies offer.

"That's what we do -- we look out there, put our feelers out there and we hear what the base is saying," Sellers said. "The IDS collects that information and then we [identify] this as a trend, more than one person has said this, and we develop a course."

Throughout its first year, the resiliency program continued to adapt to the needs of the base. One of the classes developed through the identification process was Bi-cultural Marriages, which started earlier this month.

In its first year, approximately 1,600 military members and dependents have participated in the program.

Airman 1st Class Jessica Schmidt, 18th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, started using the program in December and has earned 18 points so far. The points, which are earned for every class taken, can be used for different incentives. Classes, because they are intended to help educate, can also be used on performance reports and awards packages for self improvement achievements.

"When I first started I was looking for something to do because I have my college degree already and I didn't want to take college classes again," Schmidt said. "Some of the classes seemed interesting and the more I took of them, the more I got involved."

"For me it turned out to be a lot more that just getting bullets," she added.

Schmidt, has taken classes from How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk/Jerkette -- her favorite class -- to Surviving Adolescence and Adulthood, although she's a single Airman with no dependents.

Class subjects include finance, nutrition, relationships and parenting.

Though the incentives may be the driving force for some taking the classes, the real benefit comes from the lessons learned.

According to Schmidt, one class named for parents with teenagers actually helped the 28-year-old to communicate with some of her younger coworkers.

An incentive program is available for active-duty military members. The point system is as follows; classes two hours or less are worth one point, classes four hours or less are with two points, and classes six hours or less are worth three points.

These points can be accumulated for the following recognition program incentives:

1 Star or Squadron-level recognition (8 points): Parking spot, recognition at commander's call and certificate

2 Star or Group-level recognition (15 points): Half day off (AD) and certificate

3 Star or Wing-level recogntition (20 points): One day off, picture in the base paper, recognition at Kadena Team Staff Meeting, and certificate

College honors Niagara reservist for leadership

by Master Sgt. Kevin Nichols
914th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/19/2013 - NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. -- Lt. Col. Patrick Peretta, 914th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, received the Daemen College Community Leadership Award April 6, 2013 for his outstanding work with veterans at the Amherst, N.Y. college.

Peretta received the award from Dr. Michael S. Brogan, Daemen Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Recognized for his work in helping veterans entering college and working with the Veterans Administration, Peretta also helps his fellow servicemembers returning from overseas receive their benefits and readjusting to being back home.

In addition to his work helping veterans, Peretta also helps the Boy Scouts and local medical students get CPR certified.

Satellite Airman Leadership School gets well positioned

by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
I.G. Brown Training and Education Center

4/19/2013 - MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- When the message went out months ago that Airman Leadership School might be offered in blended learning again through a satellite program there was a colossal, "Please do this!!" response to Master Sgt. Kirk Hayes and his Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center teammates.

The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center here strives to make training convenient and cost effective for the Air Force. The huge response from the field meant they uncovered a huge need, now they had to dust off a once shelved program and begin anew.

"Interest far surpassed what we thought it was going to be," said Hayes, superintendent of the Satellite EPME program.

The TEC is the Air National Guard's primary force development center. Its 85 Total Force staff members teach an average 18 EPME courses and host more than 40 professional continuing education courses each year.

The Center's satellite business has been robust in recent years as National Guard members, especially, work or attend college on the weekdays and have little time to travel. The TEC has done well with its satellite Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

That course, which teaches advanced leadership to technical sergeants hoping to make senior ranks is a weeknight broadcast. It's currently delivering the blended learning course to 115 Airmen at 11 installations across the country.

Many more are noticing the Center's success as the only Air Force blended learning EMPE available.

"Working in conjunction with the National Guard Bureau, we decided to try providing a satellite Airman Leadership Course for this spring to see how popular it was and see how it works for the future," said Hayes.

The course will be taught for eight hours, Saturdays and Sundays, for five weekends, followed by a two-and-a-half week in-resident session here.

The curriculum of the satellite is no different than the in-resident, Hayes said.

The instructors are confident they can get beyond the "dust off" phase of a satellite product shelved in 2008, but it's too early to say how effective they will be. They plan to monitor test scores to ensure it meets all Air Force standards.

"The students won't notice it because of all the hard work to ensure they get the same product as a physical classroom," said Tech. Sgt. Jenny Sanchez, EPME instructor and NCOIC of the ALS Satellite program.

Sanchez and Tech. Sgt. Caleb Rose are serving as on-camera instructors for this course. The center has about a half dozen instructors like them who can teach all genres of NCOA and ALS, classroom and satellite.

"Sergeant Rose and I are fortunate to be the faces associated with the satellite program because we are the on-camera instructors, but as a whole, a greater TEC team is behind the vision of getting this out to the Airmen who need it," said Sanchez.

And although the course once stopped, technology progressed. That's where the TEC's niche of having a high-definition television studio and broadcast network makes the broadcast feasible but not as easy as warming up an overhead projector.

"We heard stories that it was done via satellite, but we are starting everything from scratch here," said Master Sgt. John Anderson, who manages a six-person team of broadcast technicians at the TEC's Media Engagement Division.

The broadcast team and engineers pulled together to attack the challenge. They started cross training and are designing new graphics and show introductions. They also plan to share the weekend duty with the mindset of gaining expertise as technical directors, so the course will go on without a hitch.

"From seeing the success of how satellite NCOA works, I have a good feeling about it," said Anderson.

The first broadcast is scheduled, live starting May 4 from the studio, which is in its 18th year of providing blended learning NCOA via its "Warrior Network" satellite broadcast system.

"If we are as successful with satellite ALS as we are with satellite NCOA, it's because of many working here to make that huge impact on the Air Force," said Sanchez.

"I think she said it best," Rose added. "The satellite team is going to give the best that we can, that being, we keep students enthralled, entertained and educated throughout the weeks of broadcast. Then we will meet them here to finish the in-resident part of course and seal that impact on their leadership that it should."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Layman Considers Wisdom

The May 30, 2013, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with United States Air Force veteran Marshall Lenne the author of A Layman Considers Wisdom.

Program Date: May 30, 2013
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: A Layman Considers Wisdom

About the Guest
Marshall Lenne is a “retired human resources professional. Educated in parochial schools, he received a congressional appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. Upon receipt of his degree and commission, he married his wife, Victoria, and entered pilot training. Rated as USAF instructor pilot, he was intimately involved in motivating and training pilots to make wise decisions under stress. After completing his USAF service, Marshall spent thirty-five years in human resources, observing, analyzing, and affecting human behavior.”  Marshall Lenne is the author of A Layman Considers Wisdom.

According to the book description of A Layman Considers Wisdom, “The world is full of smart decisions. Yet, there are wars; genocide and ethnic cleansing; people suffering from disease and hunger; human beings considered less than human because of their race, color of their skin, or their sex. The world needs men and women making and acting on wise decisions. In order to do that, they must seek and acquire wisdom. In A Layman Considers Wisdom, Marshall Lenne sows, cultivates, and leaves for your harvesting life-sustaining wisdom. His considerations probe the motivation driving decisions and the resulting worldly and spiritual consequences. Discover who really determines if a decision or action is wise or foolish, good or evil. Discover how you can make wise decisions and act wisely, even in the face of adversity. Discover who Wisdom is!”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:

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Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Beale command post fosters culture of excellence

by Capt. Joe Simms
940th Wing Public Affairs

4/18/2013 - BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- Life as a command post controller is not a glamorous one.

Every day controllers descend down three flights of stairs, pass through four secure doors, each requiring key cards and authentication codes, where they will spend the majority of the next 12 hours of their shift.

It's easy to be overlooked but the command post at Beale Air Force Base Calif., is making a name for itself thanks to Command Post Superintendent, Senior Master Sgt. Semaj McGhee.

McGhee, an Air Reserve Technician with the 940th Wing here was recently named the Air Force Reserve Command Post Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for the second time in three years.

"McGhee's job knowledge and depth of experience sets him apart," said Lt Col Eric Hanson, 940th Wing Command Post officer in charge. "He was in the command post when we were a tanker unit and the experience of working with different airframes and multiple missions has been invaluable."

McGhee manages a staff of 16 to 22 full time controllers responsible for processing operational reports and Emergency Action Messages while monitoring every inbound and outbound aircraft at Beale AFB. The command post is also responsible for providing commanders oversight over two wings, 11 tenant units and up to four Geographically Separated units.

"The work is hard and we push our people hard," McGhee said. "It takes a lot of time and effort to learn the processes and stay qualified to support all of our tenants and major commands."

The command post accomplishes this around the clock mission by employing a joint active duty and reserve crew.

"We have three fulltime ARTs and 14 active duty airmen assigned to the command post with the reservists providing extensive experience and continuity," McGhee said. "It's a different dynamic than most command posts but it works well with the Total Force Integration culture here."

It works so well that during a 2011 Air Combat Command Unit Compliance Inspection the Inspector General recommended the Beale Command Post as an example for other command posts in the Air Force and recognized it as one of the busiest they had ever seen.

McGhee and the two other ARTs have more than 40 years of command post experience between them. With this experience comes the responsibility to train the active duty Airmen, most of which are junior enlisted members and only stay for a few years before they move to their next duty station.

"The command post serves as the eyes and ears of the commander and a high level of responsibility is forced upon young Airmen," said Hanson. "McGhee must make sure these Airmen are comfortable interacting with commanders and perform at a high level."
"It's a high visibility job and if you make a mistake it won't take long before everyone will know," he continued.

One way McGhee gets the most out of the Airmen is by encouraging them to strive for personal and team awards.

"Since we have different command structures and administrative assignments I use these awards as motivation for our people," said McGhee. "Since I've been here we've received 17 individual and team awards and 4 MAJCOM level awards."

In 2010, McGhee's first year with the Beale Command Post here, he won the AFRC Command Post Senior NCO of the Year and one year later, in 2011, the office won the AFRC Large Command Post of the Year.

"These awards mean a lot to me," McGhee said. "I feel like it lets everyone know when you get a controller from Beale you're getting a top-notch Airman."

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lorenz on Leadership: A chance encounter

Commentary by Retired Gen. Steve Lorenz
U.S. Air Force Academy Endowment President

4/16/2013 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS) -- As a leader, you must always be observant of what is going on around you. Literally you need to observe, listen and sense in a 360 degree circle in real time. To truly be effective, you need to have your radar up and running at all times because you never know when you can make a difference.

Recently, I was walking to my car after a meeting with the Air Force Academy Director of Athletics and I chanced upon a cadet walking back to the cadet area. She seemed deep in thought and very preoccupied. I turned and asked her how she was doing. I could tell she was thinking, "who is this stranger and I don't have time to talk to him."

I persisted and once again asked how she was doing.

She said "fine", but I could tell something was wrong. I introduced myself and reminded her that I had talked about leadership with her cadet class about six months before. She seemed to remember and then finally told me about her recent academic and discipline challenges. I listened carefully, paused and related to her some similar challenges I faced 40 years before when I was cadet. We talked about the struggles of having to study harder to make better grades, and that when you break the rules you must be a leader and accept the consequences of your bad decisions. I asked her what her personal goals were and she said she wanted to graduate from the Academy and be commissioned an officer in the Air Force.

I remember all those many years ago when I was restricted to my room studying and serving confinements. I would get depressed and start feeling sorry for myself. To keep my motivation up, I would look at a picture of my class ring and remind myself why I was at the Academy. It helped me on my darkest days. This cadet was still a year away from ordering her ring, so I gave her my tie tack which had the Air Force symbol on it. I told her that she must never give up on her goal and that when she was down in the months to come, she should hold that small Air Force symbol in her hand and let it remind her why she was at the Academy. She took it, said thank you and said she had to get back to class. As she walked away, I realized that I never even got her name. I told my wife about this encounter and put this chance meeting out of my mind.

However, much to my surprise, two days later I received an e-mail from the cadet's father. In part it said:

"Hello Mr. Lorenz, I have not had the honor of meeting you, but...my daughter, though, has had the opportunity. You see, my daughter was the cadet you came across two days ago outside Clune Arena. Although you may believe it was a chance encounter, she believes it was something quite different. Her exact words to her mother and I was that running into you was "a sign." What you told her and said to her had a huge impact on her, one that she will never forget. You helped her to reaffirm her commitment to the Academy and why she went there. After a hard day with some difficult conversations and the normal struggles that most cadets face, she was starting to question whether she belonged at the Academy. Suddenly, you appeared, and were kind and compassionate enough to realize she was in need of a sympathetic person who could relate to her. Your conversation impacted her greatly, and she left your encounter more determined and intent on graduating because she received (your message) when she needed it most. Her mother and I live close to 650 miles away. We couldn't be there for her at that moment, but we want to thank you for taking the time to stop and help someone in need. Taking time and having the patience to listen, be understanding, sympathetic, and impacting a stranger's life forever. This is not an exaggeration, but a fact we feel strongly about. There was a reason you were there to help her and, for that, we will always be thankful to you. We just wanted you to know the influence you had on our daughter and that you made a difference in her life that day... Thank you again!"

Let me emphasize that this story is not about me. I was just there and asked the cadet how she was doing. It is about observing those around you and making a difference when you least expect it. If you are observant, even chance encounters provide an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. So, the next time you are out among people, even if you are just walking down the street, take the time to notice each one as an individual. You may have the chance to make a huge difference.

Monday, April 08, 2013

General Walter: Earning Her Stripes...And a Star

by TSgt Sara Robinson
132nd Fighter Wing

4/7/2013 - Des Moines, Iowa -- Brigadier Geneneral Jennifer Walter, Chief of Staff, Iowa Air National Guard, enlisted in the Air National Guard in early 1975. At that time, The Vietnam War was ending, the Women's Liberation movement was in full swing, the cost of gas was 44 cents a gallon and women had fewer career choices. Walter has seen her share of changes over the last 37 years, including a new mentality for women in the military.

"A lot of things led me down this path. I was working at the Iowa Beef Processors in South Sioux City, Nebraska as a switchboard operator. These airplanes would fly over and make all kinds of racket. It was the 185th Tactical Fighter Wing in Sioux City (Iowa Air National Guard) and they were flying F-100's back then," she said.

"The world was a different place back then. In my 18-year old mind you could be a nurse, a teacher or a secretary. There was nothing else. My parents were very supportive of me joining the military even though the perception of women who joined was poor. It was thought that girls that joined were troublemakers or other stereotypes," she explained.

But that didn't stop Walter. She was a wide-eyed young woman with a sense of adventure and she was ready to see the world. Little did she know at that time that the sky was the limit for her as a female service member. She decided that she wanted to be an Air Traffic Controller in the Kansas Air National Guard.

"The job sounded exciting. I never anticipated being in for longer than six years. I just wanted to try it and see. At the time, the opportunities that the military had for women, compared to the civilian sector, were hands down better, I mean pretty much anything I wanted to do, I could do it," said Walter.

Walter's 'try it and see' six-year enlistment evolved into a career that spans nearly four decades. She came to Iowa in 1975 and was offered a temporary, full-time position as an air operations specialist with the 132nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Iowa Air National Guard. She also served in Operations, Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Program Mobility, Logistics Plans, Logistics Readiness Squadron, HRO, Mission Support Group and Maintenance.

"I had a great career. I actually worked in every maintenance branch except munitions," she said.

During her career, she earned the honor of being the first female to hold several leadership positions in the 132nd FW: she was the first female, non-rated colonel; first female group commander; and first female squadron commander. Her most recent accomplishment was to earn the rank of brigadier general, making her the first female general officer in Iowa Air National Guard history.

"I always felt I had to work harder than everyone else and that paid off. Just doing as good as my peers wasn't enough. I'm going to continue to work twice as hard to do the role of general proud," she says.

Walter is nothing if not humble. Her story is one of adventure, personal trials, and diversity. She gives much of the credit to those who helped her exceed her goals.

"Almost every supervisor and commander I had in my career has been really great. I still can't even believe it. Thirty-seven years ago, I got in with zero college at 18 years old with no stripes on my sleeve. Now, I'm sitting here today as a general officer. I got my college degree, have tons of wonderful memories and experiences, life lessons, the whole nine yards. I literally grew up in the military. I would have never dreamed of achieving [general officer] when I was an Airman Basic. So the basically the sky was the limit for me," she said.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Intervene to save lives

by Airman 1st Class Kaleb Snay
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/31/2013 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan  -- Whether it's hazing, depression or the death of a loved one, these factors can lead even the strongest of warriors into the perilous pit of bad decisions.

Contemplating things that could ruin their life and may eventually lead to them taking a path they never thought they would take.

Perhaps the emotions overcame them and became too much to handle by themselves, but whatever the problem may be, sometimes the only thing that's keeping someone from taking the final step into darkness is you.

"Most Airmen who commit suicide don't want to die," said Tech. Sgt. Allen Walton, 35th Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health technician. "They just want to stop hurting."
There are many stressors that can lead a person into a crisis and make them think that suicide is their only way out. A suicidal person may not ask for help upfront, but that doesn't mean that help isn't wanted.

Knowing what to watch for can be difficult unless the signs become obvious, but knowing when to intervene can be the difference between life and death.

"The pain that they're going through is huge, not just something petty," said Capt. Michael Carollo, 35th Fighter Wing chaplain. "Their whole world seems like it's crashing down and getting that person to see that there is hope and life is worth living can be very challenging as a caregiver."

As someone trying to provide assistance to a friend, wingman, co-worker or family member, knowing what that person has been through can be essential to knowing if they are at risk.

"Everyone is potentially at risk," said Carollo. "We want to help people before things get so bad that they go through with the suicide. Sometimes people suddenly stop caring about things they used to love, or hygiene goes down. If you see somebody is upset, go talk to them. How they respond may give you more reason to believe they might be contemplating suicide."

The loss of an Air Force member can be devastating, said Walton. It directly affects families and units involved and can indirectly affect general morale on base. One suicide is too many, which is why suicide prevention is the key.

"Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously," said Walton. "If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life."

A majority of Airmen that committed or attempted suicide were not known to have communicated with others about their intentions of harming themselves, said Walton. That's why communication is very important.

There are many avenues that the Air Force offers to make it easy for anyone contemplating suicide to get the help they need. Stress Management classes like 'Sleep Better', which teaches skills to obtain a better night's rest, are offered on a regular basis. Chaplains and Mental Health technicians are always available to speak with as well.

Sometimes people just want a helping hand from someone they are comfortable with, said Carollo. They want someone there to talk to about work or any other issue they may be having that's causing them to want to hurt themselves.

"Suicide is seen as a taboo subject but you need to know how to approach someone to talk about it," said Carollo.

Anyone willing to help can take the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, which teaches the skills and builds confidence to be able to step into that situation, said Carollo. Learning these skills could help you save a life.

"When all is said and done the most important thing to note is to know that life is worth living, and we shouldn't let anyone go down the wrong path," said Carollo.

Selfridge Airmen Honored For Combat Leadership

by TSgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs

4/2/2013 - SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. - -- A decade ago, he was a newly-minted master sergeant, wondering if he had what it takes to truly be a leader. Today, one of the classrooms where the Air Force teaches Airmen about leadership is named in his honor.

"It was the first real test of my leadership skills," Master Sgt. Charlie Peterson says of the battles he survived in Iraq in 2004. "I didn't really know until that day if I would be able to put all the pieces together."

In 2004, Peterson was deployed to Iraq, leading a team of Air Force truck drivers who were assigned to convoy duty to support the U.S. Army. Twice he survived direct, intense attacks on his convoy. In recognition of the leadership skills he employed while under attack, one of the classrooms at the Noncommissioned Officers Academy at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., has been named in his honor.

Peterson, a traffic management specialist with the 127th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, was one of the first six Airmen in the Air Force - and the very first one in either the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve - to earn the Combat Action Medal as a result of his 2004 duties in Iraq.

In late 2003, Peterson was a member of the 927th Air Refueling Wing of the Air Force Reserve, which was then stationed at Selfridge. He was mobilized along with several other Selfridge Airmen to form the 1058th Air Expeditionary Force Truck Company in Iraq. At the time, convoy duty was one of the most dangerous duties in Iraq. To prepare for the mission, Peterson and his fellow Airmen underwent combat training with the Army both in the U.S. and in Kuwait. While in Kuwait, just days before entering Iraq in early 2004, Peterson was promoted to master sergeant and was made a platoon leader within the company.

On July 28, 2004, Peterson was riding in the command truck in a 20-truck convoy when the convoy was hit by a roadside improvised explosive device, or IED. The truck in front of him was destroyed in the blast and Peterson suffered shrapnel wounds to the face and forearm, saved from additional injury by his body armor. Following the blast, in which a civilian contractor was killed, Peterson took charge of the scene, established a defensive perimeter and eventually directed the resumption of the convoy on its mission. Upon reaching a safe zone, Peterson was medically evacuated by helicopter to allow his wounds to be treated.

Just over a week later, on Aug. 5, 2004, Peterson was riding in a convoy of approximately 50 vehicles en route to Mosul, Iraq, that was ambushed with IEDs and a concentrated attack by enemy forces.

"We literally had to fight our way into the city," Peterson recalled of the incident. "An Army rapid response team came out to support us and, between the convoy and that team, we had to fight every inch of the way in.

"They were hitting us with RPG fire, AK fire - everything you can think of. I was laying down fire out of a window as we forced our way into the city," Peterson said.

While several vehicles were destroyed in that firefight and two U.S. troops were injured, all the Airmen and Soldiers survived.

"It was certainly nothing you would expect to be involved in being in the Air Force, but that was the mission we were assigned to," Peterson said.

The NCO Academy at Tyndall honored Peterson during a ceremony on March 27, 2013, which he attended.

"We were given the opportunity to name our flight's classroom after someone who had gone above and beyond during a deployment," explained Technical Sgt. Michelle Miller, a student at the NCO Academy, where mid-career Airmen are taught the necessary leadership skills to prepare for service as a senior NCO.

After meeting Peterson, Miller commented that the classroom honor turned out to be a case of "good things happening to good people."

The honor at the NCO Academy for Peterson was not the first time he was called to a ceremony as a result of his 2004 combat. In 2007, the Air Force created the Air Force Combat Action Medal to recognize the specific accomplishments of those Airmen who had been called upon to serve in ground combat roles more commonly associated with Army service. At that time, Peterson and the other five initial recipients of the award, were called to a ceremony at the Air Force Memorial in Washington D.C. where then-Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley personally pinned the award on Peterson and his peers.

Peterson, who is also a musician, said being a leader is in some ways similar to creating a piece of music.

"You lay down different tracks of music, the vocals. If you listen to each piece individually, it doesn't sound like much. But when you put it all together, you have something," he said. "Leadership isn't just doing one thing. Its knowing your people, putting things together in a way that makes sense. And to be listening for new sounds and new ideas to improve."

Peterson has served his nation in Air Force blue for more than 23 years. He initially served for eight years on active duty. He then returned home to the Detroit area and served for 10 years in the Air Force Reserve at Selfridge. When the 927th ARW relocated to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., in 2007, Peterson transferred to the Michigan Air National Guard and has served with the 127th LRS ever since.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Corporal's Course receives sister service members

by Airman Sean M. Crowe
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

4/1/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Joint base service members from the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy are attending Corporal's Course, previously exclusive to Marines, March 11 through 29, 2013, here.

The current iteration of Corporal's Course here is the first to open its doors to sister services. It is a three-week course in which E-4 grade service members learn to become NCOs through professional military education.

"The purpose of opening the course to other services is to utilize local assets to train service members," said Gunnery Sgt. Brad Gravat, Marine Aircraft Group 49 staff NCO in charge. "We can save resources while building on the students' professional military education and continuing to foster joint relations here."

Instructors such as Gravat, a Fairhope, Ala., native, provide the 33 service members a plethora of responsibilities and skills required to perform NCO duties. Service members learn a variety of subjects including combat leadership, military professionalism, supervision, mentoring and public speaking. Instructors will test the students' knowledge at the end of the course with a test that covers all topics discussed throughout the course.

"Several Airmen throughout the bases tenant units submitted packages to their squadrons," said Senior Airman Thomas Waters, 87th Civil Engineer Squadron journeyman firefighter. "The 87th Mission Support Group selected me and one other Airman for the course, which will give me the opportunity to develop as a leader."

The Air Force doesn't require Waters, a Salem, N.Y. native, to take PME until reaching the Air Force's first NCO rank, staff sergeant. Marines, however, must take either the Corporal's Course or an online equivalent upon becoming a corporal.

"I volunteered for this course when my squadron asked who wanted to attend," said Cpl. David Cordero, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 772 avionics technician originally from Anaheim, Calif. "It's a great opportunity to learn how to lead. We get to learn Air Force Instructions, making this course beneficial for all the services involved."

Service members belonging to other branches learn Marine Corps methods, standards and traditions as part of the course.

"I think this course will encourage me to hold myself to a higher standard," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Gregory Garcia, Fleet Readiness Center East 400th Division machinist's mate from Albuquerque, N.M. "Sailors must take a course upon becoming a petty officer 3rd class, but the course is not as strenuous and in-depth. I'd like to take what I've learned here and use it to hold my unit accountable."

The E-4 grade service members are slated to graduate Corporal's Course March 29 with a formal ceremony in which the only honor graduate will be awarded the NCO sword. The other graduates are authorized to procure their own sword once they rate as NCOs.