Airmen march towards staff sergeant as part of new combined Airman Leadership program

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Daniel Ter Haar
  • 185th ARW PA
Senior Airmen in the Air National Guard are writing papers, giving speeches, and are literally marching towards their staff sergeant stripe at the James M. McCoy Airman Leadership School at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. The Air Force and Air National Guard are working together, as part of a new program this year that allows members of the Guard and Reserve to attend ALS on an active duty Air Force base. Iowa and Nebraska Air National Guard units currently have members attending the course at Offutt Air Force Base.

The six week long course teaches Senior Airmen how to be effective leaders and supervisors. It is a requirement for Senior Airmen to sew on their Staff Sgt. stripe. 
While the non-residence course is still available, some members will have a chance to take a more "hands on" approach to learning how to become a more effective leader in today's Air Force.

According to Chief Master Sgt. Phil Frank, the 185th Air Refueling Wing command chief at Sioux City, Iowa, Airmen who attend the course will see the same material as the non-resident ALS course but at a much higher level. He said that writing a paper or giving a speech for a group of 20 people is a lot different than sitting down in front of a computer and doing the same thing.

"I think our folks will get a lot more out of the program if they go interact with their peers and instructors in that environment. They're going to get a better education and get more from it, if you go in-resident," said Frank.

Frank also mentioned that it could be very helpful for airmen to have taken the in-resident course when being considered for promotion in the senior NCO tiers.

Master Sgt. Joseph P. Cook, the commandant of James M. McCoy Airman Leadership School at Offutt said that the leadership course consists of 192 hours where airmen will also receive nine college credit hours towards their Community College of the Air Force degree.

Cook also said that students learn about the enlisted performance report, a relatively new system to the Guard that is used for active duty.

He stated that the interaction with other students between the Guard and active duty and  getting a bigger picture of the Air Force as a whole were the main advantages of taking the in-resident class.

The Guard has the opportunity to send Senior Airmen to McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee, for in-resident ALS, but the new program makes it easier for Guard members to have those same benefits of the in-resident course while staying closer to home.

Senior Airman Taylor S. Behrens from the 185th ARW is taking the course with other members from his unit as well as students from the 155th ARW in Lincoln, Nebraska and the 132nd Wing in Des Moines, Iowa. Members of the current class are among the first to participate in the new combined course that's being held at Offutt.

"This is closer to home which is good for the students so they have the ability to go home on the weekend if they need to take care of things," said Behrens.

Behrens also said that it is great to learn the active duty side of the Air Force, and with the Guard becoming more and more involved in deployments, it's good to get that experience.

Whether its writing papers, giving speeches, or literally marching towards that staff sergeant stripe, the members of the ANG are having more interaction with their active duty Air Force counterparts. Airmen also get a better idea of how the Air Force works and the hands on leadership skills, that organizers say will be valuable today and for their future career progression.

Editor's notes: Staff Sgt. Jacob D. Oakley and Staff Sgt. Ruben E. Castro from the 185th ARW graduated from the course earlier this year. Senior Airman David B. Asbra from the 185th ARW is also currently attending ALS at Offutt.

If you would like to know more about the course visit your base education office or visit the Offutt ALS Facebook page to find out more.

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