by Senior Airman Briana Jones
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/29/2014 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- Airmen
Leadership School, NCO Academy and Senior NCO Academy are all designed
to better prepare Airmen to lead, teach and inspire Airmen of their own.
It all starts with ALS - a five-week class that tests the minds of
future supervisors and arms them with the tools needed to succeed as a
Approximately 40 students spend 24 academic days and 192 academic hours
marching, studying, testing and learning, all in an effort to better
themselves mentally and emotionally so one day they can be what the Air
Force needs: great supervisors.
At Aviano, five ALS instructors, along with the commandant, dedicate
their time and energy into teaching these Airmen and encouraging them to
be future Air Force leaders. When the academic day is done, instructors
continue to devote their time going over lesson plans, grading
homework, scheduling physical training sessions and helping Airmen
understand the lesson material.
"I couldn't be more honored to be in the position to be the one to help
my students make the transition from Airmen to NCO," said Staff Sgt.
Amanda Arndt, 31st Force Support Squadron ALS instructor. "I am not
teaching my students how to be supervisors, but how to be leaders and
how to communicate effectively - not only to each other, but their own
leadership and future troops."
ALS provides foundational leadership and interpersonal skills, and
focuses a majority of the instruction on Air Force rules and
As the top senior enlisted leader of ALS, the commandant directs the
overall and day-to-day operations of the school in accordance with The
Barnes Center for Enlisted Education. The commandant not only serves to
guide students, but the teachers as well, helping everyone establish and
achieve a pattern of success.
"The best part of my job is knowing that I have the best instructors I
could ask for, they make my job easier," said Master Sgt. Jose Negron,
31st Force Support Squadron ALS commandant. "Watching the transformation
that occurs in these students from the very first day to the very last
is the best part for me, just knowing that they are ready to become
At the end of the course students have to take a variety of tests
including a formative test, a summative evaluation on march and drill to
determine their eligibility to graduate. A variety of awards such as
the John Levitow Award, Commandant Leadership Award, Distinguished
Graduate and Academic Achievement rewards students for their hard work
During ALS Airmen are students, but the day they graduate they are
another step closer to being leaders, supervisors, innovators and above
all else - NCOs.
"The one thing that will stay with me throughout my military career will
be the basic principles of leadership, that's the one thing that will
never change," said Senior Airman Daniel Moore, 31st Security Forces
Squadron security response member and ALS student.
"ALS is not just a class about leadership, it also teaches us more about
how people communicate and that is the key to being in a leadership
role and I for one am grateful for the chance to learn how to do that."