Leadership News

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Looking forward to LEAD: CES Airman selected to Academy Prep school

by Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

5/22/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, JAPAN -- When Senior Airman Victoria Rodriguez, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron administration specialist, joined the military, she had no idea what the future would hold.

The Army brat, who calls Fort Hood, Texas, home, has been selected as one of 50 Airmen to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School through the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development program.

Rodriguez first learned about the LEAD program while stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. At the time, the process turned her off of wanting to apply; however, once she moved to Yokota, she reconsidered submitting an application and found mentors who encouraged her to apply.

"She strongly exhibits all the core values, she has a great positive attitude, she is well spoken and all around she's sharp," said Lt. Col. Christoff Gaub, 374 CES commander. "She was a great enlisted troop and she'll be a great officer leading enlisted in the future."

In addition to her leadership, Rodriguez received mentorship and advice from individuals who have gone through the LEAD program and the Air Force Academy.

"We met in a kickboxing class and later on I found out she was applying for LEAD," said Capt. Corina Glover, 374th Medical Surgical Squadron physician's assistant. "The program is very physically challenging and that was an area she wanted to improve, so I helped."

For those looking at applying to the LEAD program, Rodriguez shares her thoughts.

"Don't let anything stop you," Rodriguez said. "The paperwork is tremendous, but sit down and get through it a little at a time. It'll be worth it in the end."

The Air Force offers a number of programs for those interested in commissioning. Information about the programs can be found at the installation education office and also on the Air Force Portal.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Marine NCO Strives to Lead by Example

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Melissa Eschenbrenner
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif., May 23, 2013 – In the world’s strongest fighting force, only a select few can say they’ve earned a second-degree black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jeremy Meadows holds a Marine in a headlock while grappling at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., April 22, 2013. A martial arts instructor trainer, Meadows is one of only a few second-degree black belts assigned to the air station. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Melissa Eschenbrenner

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Meadows is one of the few who proudly wear two red tabs here.

Before enlisting in the Marine Corps, Meadows -- a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor trainer with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 and a Lubbock, Texas, native -- earned a black belt in taekwondo. When he joined, MCMAP was still new and unknown to many Marines.

During his grey belt training, the challenging physical training and combat conditioning was something that made MCMAP fun, Meadows said.

“I got my green belt instructor tab in 2006,” he said. “From that point, I got back to my command and started training Marines, and I fell in love with it. I like being in the dirt with the Marines. I would do that any day of the week.”

The course is designed not only to prepare Marines for hand-to-hand combat, but also to add to the quality of the Corps as a whole. MCMAP is based on a synergy of three elements: physical fitness, mental strength and soundness of character.

“I try to style my life around the three synergies,” Meadows said. “I just keep that in my mindset and try to better myself that way.”

Meadows said he constantly sustains and passes his knowledge to other Marines, noting that it’s pointless to have knowledge and skills but not share them with others. “You do know a few things, but what do you have to prove?” he added. “You should use those techniques to help other people.”

Meadows wouldn’t expect anything out of his Marines that he could not do himself, said Marine Corps Cpl. James Vandling, a green belt MCMAP instructor and a Randolph, N.J., native.

Marine Corps Cpl. Daitoine Austin, an operations noncommissioned officer with HMH-462, said Meadows is the type of Marine his subordinates should strive to be.

“I take a lot from his leadership style,” said Austin, who hails from Cleveland. “You don’t have many Marines that will go the distance to better Marines. He’s not afraid of a challenge, and he’s definitely not afraid of change.”

Meadows said he uses what he knows as a martial arts instructor trainer and as a staff NCO to better the upcoming generation and ensure the legacy of greatness continues.

“I hope they take bits and pieces of my leadership style and apply it to theirs and strive every day to lead by example,” he added. “You have to step in front and show your Marines that you’re willing to do everything they do.”

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ordering monkey food

Commentary by Jenna Fletcher
39th Air Base Wing

5/21/2013 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (AFNS) -- Several years ago, I had the opportunity to attend an Office Personnel Management leadership academy. During three weeks of intense and quality training, there was one story in particular from our instructor that made a deep impression and has stuck with me after all of these years.

My instructor worked as a consultant in the business world. One time he was asked to consult for a company that had one section with very low morale. As soon as he walked into their office it was profoundly obvious. Everything about the work environment made it clear this group did not like their job, or each other. One of his first questions to the group was, "What do you do here?"

"We order monkey food," was their reply.

Thinking perhaps this was industry jargon, he asked, "What do you mean, 'you order monkey food?' What does that mean?"

After longer conversations he learned that this group's entire purpose was to order several different kinds of monkey food and coordinate its delivery to a warehouse. They didn't know for whom they ordered it, and they didn't know where it ended up.

To learn more, a field trip to the warehouse where the food was delivered was organized. When the group arrived, they asked to speak with the manager. When the consultant explained that the individuals with him ordered all the monkey food in the warehouse, the manager became interested and excited asking all kinds of questions, "Why do you order so much monkey food? What is it for?"

And so, the consultant asked where the warehouse delivered the food. He set up a second field trip for the office and the warehouse personnel. They arrived at a large research laboratory and asked to speak to the person in charge. When they were finally able to meet with the head of research, the consultant explained he had with him the office responsible for ordering the food and the personnel responsible for storing and shipping it. The head of research became overcome with emotion and insisted on shaking everybody's hand. After he had said thank you a dozen times, the consultant asked him what they did at the lab.

"We do AIDS research here," he answered, and went on to explain why they needed so many different kinds of food and how vitally important the food was to the overall research project.

The consultant reported that a few months later when he returned to the office that ordered the monkey food, the changes were remarkable. The office was cheerful and the staff was engaged with each other and their work. There was a huge banner on the wall that said, "We help people cure AIDS."

The moral of this story, which has stuck with me for over eight years, is that people need to understand what they do and why they do it. Not just the nuts and bolts, and the forms and software. Not just technical data and schedules. Individuals need to understand the bigger mission and how they fit into it.

Every machine, organism and organization is complex. Some parts you can see plainly, and it is obvious what they do and why their contributions are important. However, it is the obscure parts, the not readily identifiable capacities, that you eventually recognize as crucially important elements in making something work - in creating success. What at first glance may seem mundane and inconsequential you find just as essential as the higher visibility roles.

There is no job within the Air Force that is more important than any other. There are no unnecessary Air Force specialties. Every unit, individual -- whether officer, enlisted or civilian -- in every organization has a critical role to play for Air Force victory.

Good leaders help their team understand their mission and their contribution. Good leaders make why just as important as what and how. Good leaders don't just lead by example, they lead by perspective.

How does your job ensure mission success?

Monday, May 20, 2013

You, too, can think Out of the Box

by Capt. Tamara Fischer-Carter
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

5/20/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  -- If you were King or Queen for a day, what would you change to improve the mission of the Air Force?

A new Air Force Space Command initiative, "Out of the Box" Innovation allows just that--an opportunity to think out of the box and improve the work environment through innovation. AFSPC personnel can directly impact the mission of Air Force Space Command by proposing changes to make the command more efficient.

Both uniformed and civilian AFSPC members can participate in the open call for ideas and share their creative ways on how to save money and time. The new event encourages people to suggest changes that will generate cost savings, improve productivity and increase efficiencies.

"Now is the time for innovation," said Air Force Space Command's Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, Maj. Gen. Jane Rohr. "We must be more innovative ... with the budget issues and concerns of today, we must encourage everyone to look at their areas and units to find out how we can work more effectively to accomplish the mission. We absolutely must be more efficient in the delivery of our capabilities."

Airmen should submit their ideas, regardless of what the potential savings may be. "If we're going to be successful, we need everyone to participate. I truly mean that - we want to hear the ideas out there, big and small," said Gen. Rohr.

Airmen can submit their ideas through the Out of the Box Innovation SharePoint site from May 20 to June 5. The SharePoint site also has a link for individuals to sign up as a facilitator. The facilitators will attend a three hour training session and sign up for a team after the idea submission deadline. There will be one facilitator per team.

Additionally, individuals will have the chance to review the ideas and sign up on a team of their interest to research and expand upon an initial submission. Each team will have a minimum of 20, maximum of 25, participants.

Once teams are formed, they will participate in an "event day" which is tentatively scheduled for June 27. On that day, each team will collaborate on its given submission, identify a potential solution and formulate a response for leadership consideration.

The Innovation Management Team will evaluate and categorize all submissions and present them to Gen Shelton.

"The Out of the Box Innovation Program encourages innovation, embraces new thinking, and takes prudent risks to achieve mission success," said Gen Rohr. "We want all Airmen to view this as an opportunity to get involved and use their creativity to streamline processes and find new ways to get the job done."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Only fools sit around wishing for good old days

Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. William Harrington
31st Logistics Readiness Squadron

5/17/2013 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) -- I was recently sitting on my uncle's porch in Compton, Calif., talking with him about the Air Force and the Los Angeles Lakers when my uncle began playing Al Green on a new stereo system he had just purchased.

As we reminisced, I asked my Uncle James, "What happened to the old days when you played your albums and 45s?"

My uncle looked at me and said, "Only a fool sits around and wishes for the old days."

He went on to further explain. "Things are constantly changing and to remain relevant all of us must be willing to change," he said.

So I ask you, how many times have you heard about the "Old Air Force"? When I joined the Air Force in the old days, it seemed as if we had unlimited dollars and numerous personnel. I can remember hot seating -- sharing a desk with three other Airmen. There were unlimited resources and more than enough personnel to accomplish the mission in the good old days.

Our nation has changed, our Air Force has changed, our enemies have changed, and the way we train and fight has changed. We must change or change will be forced upon us. Due to budgetary constraints and personnel reductions, our Air Force leaders has been forced to make some tough calls. Leaders at all levels are being forced to look at better and more efficient ways to accomplish the mission. The good old days are gone forever.

My uncle used the word "fool" but he didn't use in a disrespectful or demeaning way. What he meant was, life is meant to be lived looking forward. The same can be said about our great Air Force. If we are to remain the world's greatest fighting force we must continue to look forward. We must continue to develop and leverage leading edge technology. More importantly, we must continue to develop and educate our officer and enlisted forces. It is the great minds of individuals like yourself who will continue to move our great Air Force forward.

We can't ever begin to think what worked yesterday will work tomorrow. The victories of yesterday do not guarantee easy wins tomorrow. We can't get caught up living, wishing, hoping for the good old days. We must stay in front of the enemy. We must continue to pursue and destroy those whose aim is to harm our way of life.

We need current and future leaders like yourself to continue to push our Air Force into the future. The good days are just that: good and old.

However, it's still great to think about those times. I plan to go home tonight and listen to my Motown oldies music. With all the changes and budgetary constraints, I must admit I still love my Air Force. These are the best of days for our Air Force, despite some of the challenges.

When you find yourself thinking about the good old days, just remember we have to be better today than we were yesterday. The good old days were great, today is even better and tomorrow will be better still.

Let's continue to be innovative during these difficult and trying times. Our nation and way of living is counting on all of us to continue to look forward and not live in the past. No matter how difficult or challenging the times, our goal and focus must always be forward.

Have a good today and a better tomorrow.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Medal of Honor recipient discusses leadership with Andersen Airmen

by Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham
36th Wing Public Affairs

5/10/2013 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- A Medal of Honor recipient toured Andersen Air Force Base, and spoke to members of Andersen's Top Three, May 3.

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Don Jenkins, one of the 85 living Medal of Honor recipients, spoke to approximately 40 senior NCOs about his experiences as a young soldier and expressed his opinion on being a senior leader.

During his speech, Jenkins spoke about leading younger Airmen, and their tendencies to change and grow, especially during war.

"I was young in the military once, and things can change fast," Jenkins said. "I'm the only private first class to get an Article 15 at 10 a.m. one day, and less than 24 hours later be put in for the Congressional Medal of Honor by my leadership for my actions in Vietnam."

Jenkins also discussed how it is a supervisor's responsibility to be someone to their subordinates want to emulate as they progress in their careers.

"As a leader, you have to not only be an example of good leadership, but instill those values in your Airmen. Respect them, take care of your Airmen, talk to them," he said. "Because with the way the world is changing, you could go a lot of places with them. Someday you might go to war with those very Airmen and they just might pull you out of a bind."

Jenkins joined the Army from Nashville, Tenn. and began serving as a private first class in Company A, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division.

According to his citation, during a firefight on Jan. 6, 1969, in Kien Phong Province, Republic of Vietnam, Jenkins repeatedly exposed himself to hostile fire to engage the enemy. Despite being wounded himself, he was able to resupply his ammunition, obtain new weapons and make several trips through intense fire to rescue other wounded Soldiers.

"The importance of Mr. Jenkins' visit speaks for itself," said Chief Master Sgt. Dave Martin, 36th Medical Group superintendent. "He is living history and a great role model for all enlisted members. I learned many things about leadership never change. Leadership is about knowing your people and situation and not being afraid of doing what needs to be done."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Door ding puts integrity into action

by Capt. Zach Anderson
931st Air Refueling Group Public Affairs

5/10/2013 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Master Sgt. James Carter could have simply walked away.

It would have been so easy. No one saw his car door, propelled by a violent gust of Kansas wind, swing wide open and slam into the side of the vehicle parked next to him. No one heard the dull thump of the impact. No one saw the dent it left behind.

No one, that is, except Carter and his friend.

"We had just finished shopping at the Base Exchange and I was putting my stuff in my car when the wind caught the door and it hit the side of the car parked right next to me," said Carter, superintendent of wing inspections for the 22nd Air Refueling Wing here. "I took a look and it was obvious there was a dent."

It was at that moment that Carter experienced an integrity check.

"I didn't really even think about it," said Carter. "I just decided that since the owner wasn't there I would leave him a note to apologize and provide my information. I was in the process of putting the note on his car when he came walking up."

Master Sgt. Johnny Stephenson wasn't sure what the individual standing next to his car was doing.

"I really didn't even pay any attention to him. I was about to get in my car when he came around and introduced himself and told me he had dinged my vehicle," said Stephenson, administrative assistant for the Air Force Reserve 931st standards and evaluations office. "He told me he was sorry and that he wanted to make it right and pay for the damage."

Stephenson said he was impressed with Carter's willingness to not only to admit to the door ding, but also his desire to pay for the damages. The two men exchanged information and Stephenson took his car in to get a repair estimate.

"He was just so honest and forthright about it," said Stephenson. "When I got the estimate, I told him that if he was insistent on paying something, he should just pay half of it and we'd call it even. After all, it was an accident. But he absolutely refused. He kept on saying it was his fault and he was going to pay in full and make it right."

"I told him no," said Carter. "It was my fault. I will cover the whole thing. If someone dinged my car like that, I'd want them to do the same thing."

True to his word, Carter paid in full the cost of the repair. His willingness to take responsibility for the entire incident left Stephenson impressed.

"It really is a great example of integrity," said Stephenson. "You don't see that very often with things like door dings; things people think are just small. Most of the time people will just get in their cars and drive away. But he didn't do that. His actions represented the core value we are all supposed to uphold, with integrity first. It's just a great example that I think others should know about and follow."

Carter said the incident wasn't so much about setting an example as it was about just doing the right thing.

"The idea of integrity, you can talk about it all you want, but for all of us it comes down to actually showing it," said Carter. "A person with integrity does what is right no matter who is watching. The only people who knew about the door ding were me and the friend I was with. But I had to do something. It's that simple. You do what is right. Integrity is not just about reciting the core values. It's stepping up and doing what is right."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Have courage, speak up

Commentary by Col. Daniel Higgins
2nd Bomb Wing Staff Judge Advocate

5/13/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- Recently, I saw a commercial depicting what appeared to be a typical business meeting. An older man, clearly the boss, said something along the lines of "So, we all agree -- it's a good idea?" To which an employee responds "I think it's a stupid idea."

In the next scene, the employee who gave his opinion is out on the street with a box of personal belongings, the implication being that he was fired for speaking his mind.

I don't recall what the commercial was trying to get me to buy, but whatever it was, I don't need it. In fact, in the Air Force, we need the opposite. It takes courage to serve in the Air Force. Yes, obviously it takes great physical courage.

All Airmen, regardless of rank or career field, can find themselves suddenly and without warning in harm's way, whether deployed to a combat zone or "safely" back at home station. Physical courage is expected; it's part of the deal we made when we volunteered to serve. And I think everyone understands that.

But there's another type of courage that Airmen need: moral courage.

Airmen need the courage to do the right thing when it might not be the easy thing. They need the courage to speak up and identify an issue or a problem when everyone else thinks things are going great.

Leaders, regardless of rank, need the courage to face their daily challenges and make the decisions necessary to accomplish the mission. Every decision involves risk; and while effective leaders can and should mitigate that risk to the extent possible, they can't eliminate it entirely.

Leaders understand that if you make enough decisions, sooner or later you'll make one that turns out to be wrong. Effective leaders get that and they find the courage to make the decision anyway. They take in the information available to them, weigh their options, mitigate the risk where possible, but they act with confidence and persistence.

But truly effective leaders also want to hear when they are on the wrong path. In fact, I would argue that they need to hear it when they are on the wrong path. Being a good Airman requires, by definition, that you also be a good wingman -- and being a good wingman means speaking up when necessary. As my Army friends would say, the time to hear I'm about to walk into a chopper blade is before I walk into the chopper blade. After-the-fact is not helpful at all.

As a leader, I value the members of my organization who are willing to speak up with a different viewpoint. They have the courage to offer their views, understanding that they may not be popular. They may even be wrong, but they offer them up anyhow because they know it makes for a better decision.

We all bring different experiences and backgrounds to the problems we face and those different experiences influence the way we view and solve problems. Those differences are what make the Air Force such an effective organization.

There is no monopoly on good ideas; they can come from anywhere and anyone in your unit. If you are the leader, cultivate a climate of openness that encourages your subordinates to speak freely and offer alternatives and suggestions for how to better accomplish the mission. If you're a follower, speak up!

You've got to be willing to say, "I think it's a stupid idea," when it is. Be respectful of course, but it doesn't do anyone any good for you to say, "Yeah, I thought we were on the wrong path, but I didn't want to say anything." That's not courage. That's not helpful to the organization. That's not being a good wingman -- or a good Airman.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

HSC-2 Pilot Receives USO Woman of the Year Military Leadership Award

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ernest R. Scott, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 2 Public Affairs
NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- A helicopter instructor pilot from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 2 was selected as the Navy's Woman of the Year honoree for the USO of Metropolitan New York, May 2.

Lt. Janis Harrington was one of five female service members - one from each branch of the armed forces - who received the award in commemoration of their dedication, achievements, and service to the country.

"It's been very humbling," said Harrington, who was surprised by her selection. "I was just doing my job and I am grateful for this opportunity I've been given."

Harrington, a self-proclaimed "Marine Brat," believes her leadership ability developed early in her career with assistance from her father, a retired master sergeant in the Marine Corps.

"I learned a lot from my Dad," said Harrington. "He told me to rely on my Chief and take care of my Sailors when in charge. I did what he said and I did what I felt was right; but I never thought I'd be honored like this."

May 11, 2011, Harrington deployed with Carrier Air Wing Eight (CVW) 8 for the maiden voyage of aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). During this time, Harrington provided vertical replenishment (VERTREP) for Carrier Strike Group Two (CSG 2) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Here, Harrington applied the lessons learned from her father and gained valuable new skill sets that would further shape her leadership ability.

"My leadership through flight school, my first fleet command and [HSC-2] has taught me how to carry myself as a lieutenant in the Navy," said Harrington. "They taught me how to take care of my peers and my junior Sailors."

The USO held its 47th USO Woman of the Year Luncheon at The Pierre Hotel in New York City. The USO also honored a senior female military officer and presented five Military Leadership Awards to female service members from each branch of the armed forces, highlighting their incredible stories of exceptional bravery and grace under the most extreme conditions.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Not a diamond, but just as sharp

by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau
460th Space Wing Public Affairs

5/6/2013 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- There are some additional duties in the Air Force for which Airmen volunteer; there are some that they are "volun-told" for; and then there are duties exclusive to a limited number of top-notch Airmen.

Additional-duty first sergeants are just that.

"The position is not for everybody," explained Master Sgt. Adam Ferguson, 460th Space Wing first sergeant and wing safety superintendent. "There is a tightrope that you walk. Sometimes people need a gentle hand to get through a situation as opposed to an iron fist. You need to be able to step out of your comfort zone and be fluid with your leadership skills."

But leadership is not the only aspect of character that additional-duty first sergeants, they are in the unique position of having to do their Air Force specialty on top of the demands of "shirt" duty.

"There is a balancing act between trying to get your regular job done and your additional duties," said Tech. Sgt. Pourshia Chambers Motley, a training manger filing the role of first sergeant for the 460th Mission Support Group. "Additional-duty first sergeants have to be hard workers."

While every job has some form time constraints, a first sergeant falls under a whole new level of service before self.

"There is a lot of time, energy and effort involved, it's not just a normal 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. work day; you're on call 24/7 and you're responsible to answer the phone and take care of any life issues that are going on with your Airman," stated Master Sgt. Wade Rigsby, 460th Space Communications Squadron additional-duty first sergeant.

"You have to make sure you are willing to give more than yourself and first sergeant duty takes it to a whole new aspect," Rigsby continued.

Additional-duty first sergeants may be forced to be fluid leaders, hard workers and experts at time management, but the rewards they gain both personally and professionally seem to be worth it, according to the shirts.

"It's been rewarding and frustrating all at once, but it has made me grow more in the last few months then in the last five years," said Ferguson. "I have learned about a whole different side of the Air Force."

With Buckley having only five diamond-wearing shirts for 11 units, additional-duty first sergeants remain essential to the mission.

"Additional-duty first sergeants are crucial because not every organization and unit is authorized a diamond-wearing first sergeant," explained Chief Master Sgt. William Ward, 460th SW command chief. "They play a vital and critical role in taking care of personnel issues and the successful mission accomplishment. Without them, we would be in a very difficult situation. Additional-duty first sergeants are critical to what we do and they have my utmost respect."

No matter how amazing an additional-duty first sergeant is, eventually the time will come when they step down so that others may take on the responsibility, leaving their actions to speak for them.

"You're going to leave a legacy; it all depends on what kind of impression you want to leave," Rigsby explained. "It's going to be good or bad; it's up to you."

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

St. Thomas University Expands Adoption of Leadership Book

n 2012, St. Thomas University’s Master of Arts in Public Safety and Law Enforcement Leadership adopted Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style for the program.  The program will quadruple this year and thus the use of Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style is expected to significantly increase. 

About the Book
Using poker as analogy for leadership, Captain Andrew Harvey, CPD (ret.), Ed.D. and Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA found the right mix of practical experience and academic credentials to write a definitive book for leaders. Working together, Harvey and Foster have written Leadership: Texas Hold em Style. Most often leaders find they are given a set of resources people, equipment, funds, experience and a mission. As Foster noted, "You're dealt a certain hand. How you play that hand as a leader determines your success."

About the Program
The program is designed to serve a variety of law enforcement and public safety professionals seeking advanced skills and knowledge to become leaders in their fields.

The Master of Arts in Public Safety and Law Enforcement Leadership is a program of the university’s College of Education, Leadership & Counseling. The college has offered a campus-based Master of Arts in Police Leadership for nearly 50 years and has prepared numerous peace officers for a wide range of leadership roles in local, state and federal agencies. The online program, renamed for the wider audience it attracts, follows the same curriculum standards and is taught by many of the same instructors as the on-campus program. Online students receive the same diplomas as on-campus students.

Eleven courses are required to complete the master’s degree, for a total of 31 credit hours. Courses such as Foundations of Leadership: Intellectual and Ethical Traditions, Public Safety Law, and Community Building and Dynamics of Community Organizations provide in-depth leadership and research knowledge in public safety administration, federal and national policy making, and the dynamics of community relationships. Students learn the leadership and critical-thinking skills that will position them for career advancement.

More Information about the book:  Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style

Monday, May 06, 2013

Epiphanies on an endless missile range

by Capt. Tamara Fischer-Carter
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

5/6/2013 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- I recently completed my first marathon, the Bataan Memorial Death March. For anyone unfamiliar, the Bataan Memorial Death March is a challenging march through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range, N.M., while carrying a 60-pound rucksack. The annual event honors the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives.

I had 26.2 miles for self-reflection. During the long hours, I learned many leadership lessons that seem like common sense now, but dawned like true epiphanies in the desert heat.

First, I learned not to judge others. I saw many people struggling during the march; but I didn't know their story or their struggle. It could be that they simply were ill-prepared or it could be they recently had back surgery. Endless quotes come to mind, but I'll simplify: help where you can, but know the only one you should be in competition with is the person you were yesterday and who you're trying to become in that moment.

I learned the importance of being credible. A volunteer at an aid station was telling marchers the mile marker of their location. I took that for truth, so I was crushed when I later realized she was wrong and I was miles behind where I was told I was. I appreciated the cheerleading and encouragement, of which the volunteer had plenty. However, more importantly at the time I needed clear guidance and accurate information. All the cheering in the world doesn't make up for lack of vision or direction. When you're in charge of Airmen, they can see right through high-fives and at-a-boys if you don't have a solid plan of execution.

From this incident, I also learned to be prepared and double check your information. Don't blame the faulty information provided by others because you weren't prepared. Know limiting factors and details of the mission. Plan ahead: mentally and physically. Know the route and terrain and bring your own gear and supplies -- in my particular case, a GPS or tracking device would have been helpful. Next time I will know exactly where I am with pace count, terrain and route. Mental and physical toughness are important, but thorough preparation may make the difference when it hits the fan...you'll already be a step ahead of chaos knowing the lay of the land, knowing yourself and your Wingmen.

Control your thoughts and master your mind. Once you allow negativity in, it's game over. The individuals who were able to keep their thoughts positive still had their head up toward the end while others showed an obvious battle of fighting to quite. When it comes down to it, others can help you from the outside, but only you can help yourself on the inside. It is critical to be of sound mind and body by balancing your pillars of spiritual, mental and physical fitness. Part of the mental fitness is keeping a positive attitude while under stress. Like the positive-thought-marchers, it is quite clear to outsiders (those receiving your direction and guidance) when someone has chinks in their armor defined by negativity.

Credibility earns respect. I was initially intimidated by the many people in fancy, top-notch gear at the starting line; but as the miles piled up, I saw them dropping out. The finishers earned my respect by doing what it takes to complete the mission with skills beyond trappings. Fancy gear and attitude go a long way for intimidation, but just because you're not wearing name brand doesn't mean you're not just as good or better. I learned that succumbing to intimidation is your own defeat and you might as well quit where you are if you let others get to you. Know yourself and your limits and be credible in your actions. If you're 'talking' without 'results' it's affecting your credibility and respect with other Airmen.

Appreciate history and take advantage of the daily opportunities to make a difference -- each day a new page is written -- why read about it when you can help write it? Standing there the morning of the march, and hearing the Bataan Veteran's names being called, really drove home the fact that the sand is dropping in everyone's hour glass. This moment in time will never come again. Enjoy each and every moment to the fullest.

Most importantly, this march reaffirmed what we in the military believe in and that's to thank others who sacrificed for us. It is a fleeting and humbling experience to be able to personally tell the heroes of history, like the veterans of Bataan, "Thank you for my freedom." I was compelled to do just that. Not only did I shake the hands of Bataan veterans in person to say thank you, while I still had the opportunity.; I also sponsored a World War II veteran on a trip to Washington, D.C. I was overjoyed to present the Honor Flight of Southern Colorado with donations I raised, from family and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, to help a WWII veteran see the memorials built in their honor.

It is an amazing feeling to be able to link times of the past with the present. The memories of the march and the lessons I learned, like the scars I earned from carrying the 60-pound rucksack 26.2 miles, will stick with me throughout my career.

JROTC Program Trains Leaders, Builds 'Family'

by TSgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs

5/6/2013 - SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- Editor's note: First in a two-part series about Air Force-supported youth programs near Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich.

Can a combat veteran and first sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and a high school student both have the same ideas about leadership?

Consider these comments, one from the 18-year veteran of the Marines and one from a high school junior:

"I learned when to express authority and when not to. I learned there is more than one way to be a leader and at different times you need to use different ways."


"The program gave me different experiences with different types of leaders with different styles of leadership. (It) broadened my awareness of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to be."

The first comment is from Nicholas Babu. He is in the 11th grade at Anchor Bay High School near New Baltimore, Mich. In the next school year, he is slated to serve as the cadet corps commander of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, JROTC, at the school. The second is from 1st Sgt. David Auwen. He was the first cadet corps commander at Anchor Bay High when the AFROTC program was re-established there in the early 1990s. Today, he is the first sergeant of headquarters company of the 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, based at nearby Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

"Being a cadet really set me up for success early in my Marine Corps career," said Auwen, who deployed to Iraq twice. "I had already been mentored and learned from my mistakes as a JROTC cadet. That really helped me be a better Marine."

That kind of talk is music to the ears of retired Air Force Col. Jeffrey Carrothers and retired Master Sgt. Steve Wratchford, who serve as the instructors of the AFJROTC program at Anchor Bay. Not, they both quickly point out, just because Auwen is wearing a military uniform, but because he is successful in his chosen profession.

"We are not building up young people for military service, but we are building better citizens for America," said Wratchford, who has been an aerospace science instructor at Anchor Bay for 20 years. "Dave's doing it in uniform, but the goal is to make leaders in their community. We don't push kids to the military. We don't get anything extra if one of our students enlists. We work to instill leadership skills so the students can be a success in whatever lies ahead."

Just over 100 students at Anchor Bay High School are part of the AFROTC program. The students all attend one class period every day in AFROTC and are able to participate in a number of other programs run by the cadet corps, including community service projects, field trips, drill team competitions and an annual summer visit to a high ropes confidence course.

Being a cadet has helped Mae Stell - a 12th grade student and the current cadet corps commander - develop her own plan for after high school. Stell will attend Xavier University in Cincinatti, Ohio, and intends to be part of the Army ROTC program there, which will help pay for her education. She hopes to use that education to become a nurse in the military after she finishes her schooling.

"Being a cadet in the program gave me confidence in myself and in my own abilities," Stell said. "Through the ropes course, meeting new people, the different activities that we do. The corps has opened my eyes to realize what opportunities even existed."

Stell, like all of the cadets in the program, has worked closely with Carrothers to formulate her plans for her life after high school.

"All of my seniors meet with me several times throughout the year - and the younger students, too - and we talk about 'OK, what's the dream?' I have three criteria for them: it has to be something legal, something they enjoy and something they will be good at," Carrothers said. "And then we start working with that student to show them the steps to reaching their goals and to move toward their dreams."

Carrothers estimates that in recent years around 25 percent of the graduates of the JROTC program at Anchor Bay have served in the military in one capacity or another after high school, but he stresses that military service is just one option for students.

"Mae Stell is a good example of what we try to help each student accomplish. Not because she wants to go into the military, but because she has a dream and it is a good, realistic dream and we are able to help her move one step closer to that dream," said Carrothers, sitting in his classroom at the high school after the final bell had rung on a recent afternoon.

While Carrothers and Wratchford - who both retired after more than 20 years of active duty service in the Air Force - work as full-time instructors at the school, they also rely on the program's extended family for support.

"That's really what it is, is a family," said Technical Sgt. Ninette LeRay, during a recent classroom visit. LeRay was the second corps commander at Anchor Bay - she followed Auwen - and today is a command post controller with the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard, also at Selfridge.

Both LeRay and Auwen serve as judges and inspectors when the Anchor Bay corps hosts an annual drill team competition in October.

"I come back year after year and I see the kids as they progress through the program. They seem to stand a little taller and you can see their self-esteem develop," she said. "What they have in the cadet corps is the same thing Dave and I had, a place where you can belong, where you are a team and people care about you."

LeRay's late father was a member of the Michigan Air National Guard at Selfridge and she grew up wanting to be part of an organization where people were valued.

"I found that first in the ROTC and then when I joined the military myself," she said. "You're part of a team where people want and expect you to advance and succeed."

Cadet Emily Johnson said she originally joined the cadet corps at Anchor Bay primarily because she was interested in using the program as a vehicle toward earning college scholarship funds.

"But I found out it is like being a part of a big family," she said. "There's all different sorts of people, but we all get along well, because we are all part of the same team."

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Relationships impact Air Force at the most basic level

by Scott Prater
Schriever Sentinel

5/1/2013 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Perception is reality.

That phrase can serve Airmen well if they contemplate its meaning prior to entering or continuing a relationship.

Periodically, the 50th Space Wing Staff Judge Advocate reminds Airmen about the difference between professional and unprofessional relationships because these concepts can have a profound impact on the Air Force at its core.

Air Force Instruction 36-2909 defines both terms and sets guidelines for service members to follow throughout their daily life -- in and out of uniform.

"Professional relationships are those that contribute to the effective operation of the Air Force," said Maj. Erika Lynch, 50 SW deputy judge advocate. "The Air Force encourages personnel to communicate freely with their superiors regarding their careers, performance, duties and missions. This type of communication enhances morale and discipline and improves the operational environment while, at the same time, preserving proper respect for authority and focus on the mission. Participation by members of all grades in organizational activities, unit-sponsored events, intramural sports, chapel activities, community welfare projects, youth programs and the like can enhance morale and contribute to unit cohesion."

The instruction also defines unprofessional relationships.

Relationships are unprofessional, whether pursued on- or off-duty, when they detract from the authority of superiors or result in, or reasonably create the appearance of, favoritism, misuse of office or position, or the abandonment of organizational goals for personal interests. Unprofessional relationships can exist between officers, between enlisted members, between officers and enlisted members, and between military personnel and civilian employees or contractor personnel. Fraternization is one form of unprofessional relationship and is a recognized offense under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice or UCMJ.

"The reason it is so important for service members to consider these concepts is because the lines can gray in so many circumstances," said Lynch.

Relationships can create confusion. People involved may believe they are perfectly professional, yet their coworkers or unit members may see that same relationship in a different light.

"Say for example an officer in a leadership position routinely plays racquetball or golf with one of his subordinates," said Lynch. "The officer and his subordinate believe their relationship is professional, but others in the unit may view their interaction and begin linking other outcomes to that relationship. If that subordinate has earned recent awards or is perceived to have received favorable treatment, his coworkers may have a case for reporting the relationship as unprofessional to commanders or investigators."

This is one of many examples where crossing a line may not actually have happened among the parties involved, but others in the unit could perceive that it has.

There are a lot of areas where relationship concepts come into play: fraternization, dating and close friendships, living accommodations, social clubs and relationships with civilians and contractors.

"Enlisted service members should be careful too," said Lynch. "There's a common misconception that officers, alone, are responsible for heeding fraternization guidelines, but enlisted members can be disciplined for these type of offenses as well."

When 50 SW judge advocate staff deliver briefings on the topic they implore service members to contemplate professionalism before interacting with other members or civilians.

"Unprofessional behavior can quickly erode an office or a unit," said Master Sgt. Karana Rice, 50 SW/JA superintendent. "With this in mind, we all have a responsibility and duty to make sure that we are setting the proper example in everything we do. There will be instances, where you will find yourself being buddies with an individual one day and supervising them the next, and find yourself having to draw that line. The bottom line is, there is a common sense factor. We have to avoid relationships that negatively affect morale and remember, professional relationships are consistent with Air Force values."

When in doubt or questioning a proper course of action regarding their own relationship, Airmen can seek advice from the 50 SW/JA office or from their leadership.

"We talk about the concept of 'Perception is Reality,' Lynch said. "How a relationship is viewed by others is important and has far reaching effects to the unit. Many times, it serves an Airmen well to approach their supervisor or squadron leadership to explain circumstances and clear up any misunderstandings."

On the other side of the issue, Lynch also pointed out that Airmen may be conflicted about the best course of action when they suspect an unprofessional relationship may be occurring in their unit. She recommends Airmen use their chain of command when dealing with such a scenario.

She said the Air Force considers unprofessional relationships seriously and that discipline for offenders can be severe, even to the point of Article 15 punishment and courts martial, depending on the level of the offense and the offenders.

For more information on the topic, visit or call the 50 SW legal office at 567-5050. The full AFI can be found at the Air Force e-publishing website. Type "AFI 36-2909" into the search bar.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

The rewards of challenging ourselves

Commentary by Col. James Fontanella
315th Airlift Wing commander

5/1/2013 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- I recently read an article that cited a number of studies on the benefits of preschool. As the father of three school-aged children, it was interesting to me because it validated a number of beliefs that I had on the advantages of starting learning early in a young brain. What I didn't expect though, were the lessons and benefits that were shown to carry forward into adulthood, and the rewards of challenging ourselves over a lifetime.

In a nutshell, the preschool studies that began in the early 1970s reversed the previous thinking that infants and toddlers needed nothing more than their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter to be met for them to thrive.

The experiments were carried out over years, and then followed for literally decades later. They proved that youngsters who were exposed to social settings and given the challenges of building with blocks or finger-painting reaped measurable rewards later in their school years and adult lives. The metrics evaluated performance in high school, post-secondary education completion, job placement and even IQ.

Significantly and undeniably, these early studies proved a positive correlation between preschool attendance and all of the measures of success later in school. What was more astonishing, however, was the added quality of life that was garnered by the experimental group -- to the tune of appreciably reduced arrest records, drug use, teenage pregnancy, poverty and welfare rates, and increased employment rates, income levels, home ownership and socioeconomic status. All from playing with trucks and dolls! Why?

The studies proved that a child's brain grows and develops in complexity as it is stimulated and put to work. What looks like fun to an adult, like playing with blocks or doing a puzzle, is demanding labor to a toddler. Because it is a challenge, it is good for them and literally pays them (and society) back over the decades of his lifetime.

As adults, we choose to do hard things and they are still good for us, whether we make that choice consciously or unconsciously. In our personal lives, we voluntarily engage in tests that may have very little tangible rewards, although they come with some obvious degree of satisfaction -- like running marathons, climbing mountains, fishing for the "big one." You may have opinions when you see a "26.2" or "140.6" bumper sticker, but trust that the owner acknowledges that he or she accepted a challenge and overcame it. I even like the "1.5" sticker, but that's a topic for another article.

The personal growth and long term benefits of doing hard things are constant among humans. The examples are nearly unlimited: reading to our kids, a long session at the gym, picking up a book instead of watching television, and working on a graduate degree, etc. Sometimes, we know why they are good for us and sometimes we don't.

When you were a kid, did you ever have a parent tell you, "it builds character" when you were prone to gripe about doing something hard? They were probably more correct than they realized.

In the Air Force, we excel in doing hard things. Whether it's vying for the next skill-level progression and potential promotion, or maximizing work center production and training in a given week, it is in our ethos to challenge ourselves. For example, we launched 13 C-17 Globemaster IIIs in six minutes from Joint Base Charleston, S.C., a few weeks ago and made it look easy.

Fixing and flying airplanes in austere environments, precisely airdropping cargo to ground troops in a combat zone, aerial refueling humongous airplanes within feet of other huge aircraft at 250 mph, and saving the lives of the critically wounded at 30,000 feet are all unarguably high in the risk management department. But as successes, they are possible because of the lifetime of skills we have accumulated and honed.

Are our successes in our professional lives due to all that character we built as kids, or the finger-paintings we created when we were 3 years old? It's hard to say, but I'm sure the lessons and discoveries of our juvenile years are a good start in accomplishing the hard things we do as adults.

In the military, we operate at the pinnacle of doing hard things and we do them routinely. We do them not only because we can and because they make us better, but because they represent service to our country. Let's keep on doing the hard things!

Airman Leadership distance course marks change, release

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

5/2/2013 - MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- Officials at the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education announced the release today, May 1, of a new version of the Airman Leadership Distance Learning Course (ALDLC) entitled, "Course 00003."

The updated course is used by Air National Guard members for distance learning of the normally in-resident instructed Airman Leadership School, which is a requirement to become a noncommissioned officer.

The revised course - downloaded as an electronic soft copy - improves lesson objectives and content, said officials.

Like the previous distance courses, successful completion provides Community College of the Air Force Credits as well as Extension Course Institute points toward annual retirement credits.

Identical in its organization to the current course, ALDLC consists of two sets of sub-courses. The first set includes three volumes: Course Introduction; Military Professional; and Expeditionary Airman. The second sub-course includes volumes: Supervisory Communicator; and Supervisor of Airmen.

"This is a challenging course," said Frank A. Mileto, distance learning manager for the Barnes Center in an email announcement. "Potential students should plan to devote time and serious effort toward its successful completion."

Mileto went on to say that the leadership training prepares Senior Airmen as "effective supervisors and leaders."

Officials pointed out that enrollment for the course is now accomplished on-line, via self-registration through the Air University Student Information System website, located at https://ausis.maxwell.af.mil/SIS/app.

Sub-courses include closed-book exams administered by designated test control facilities, said officials. Chapters include test preparation exercises and assignments. Students who fail initial exams are allowed to retest after 72 hours.

Mileto said that students are also challenged to consider thoughts and emotions as part of the leadership curriculum.

"While the course includes all the material necessary to meet the developmental educational objectives, critical thinking will be required to comprehend the material and pass the exams," he said.

Once enrolled, students have 12 months to complete the course. They may request an automatic four-month extension prior to the end of the initial 12 months of enrollment; however, any other subsequent extension will be considered an exception to policy and must be approved by the Operations Directorate, Barnes Center for Enlisted Professional Military Education/Academic Affairs, said officials.