YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (1/11/2013 - AFNS) -- It is a simple word
to describe a powerful human trait or action; the ability to
influence or guide a group of people to complete an act greater than
Tech. Sgt. Joseph Gambles (front left), 374th Force Support Squadron Airman Leadership School instructor, describes commands for falling in and out of formation to a student Jan. 9, 2013, at the Yokota Professional Development Center. Gambles has instructed seven ALS classes since becoming a professional military education instructor. (U.S. Air
by Senior Airman Cody H. Ramirez)
Tech. Sgt. Joseph Gambles is familiar with leadership.
As a professional military education instructor for the
Yokota Airman Leadership School here, Gamble ensures the Air
Force is stocked with reliable NCOs who are responsible for
tailoring young Airmen into future leaders.
Airman Leadership School program is a six-week course Airmen
must accomplish if they are to assume the rank of staff
sergeant. According to Gambles, ALS molds Airmen into better
leaders by giving them the skills needed to be effective
"My job as an instructor is to be a
living extension of the ALS curriculum that students are
responsible to read," Gambles said. "That is to say, if the
students cannot grasp the material from the reading alone, I
apply different methods of presentation until the student
can comprehend it."
Senior Airman Robert Tangen, a
374th Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunizations
technician and current ALS student, said Gambles has an
approachable and open teaching style, while still commanding
authority as an instructor.
"If you do not understand
something or you need clarification, (Gambles) is good at
breaking it down and making it understandable," Tangen said.
"You are not afraid to approach him and you never feel like
you have a stupid question.
"It really shows his
professionalism overall, being approachable in that manner,"
Tangen added. "Gambles shows you what type of person you
would want to be in a supervisory position."
said he ensures the students are able to fully understand
and apply lesson principles (on course exams), grade written
and oral assignments and execute a graduation ceremony in a
distinct, formal manner, but his personal goal as an
instructor is to allow students to see what they are capable
of becoming: a great supervisor and leader.
"In-residence ALS is of the utmost importance because these
members are crossing into a new tier where they are going to
be responsible for supervising other Airmen," Gambles said.
"This course really highlights for them the weight of that
responsibility while, at the same time, equipping them to
face that challenge."
Gambles said without this
training, the majority of new NCOs fall into one of the two
extremes of the supervisory spectrum: being too strict or
being a buddy rather than a leader. According to Gambles,
most new NCOs feel like leadership is too far a destination
to reach, but by the time the students graduate they are
well informed of what they need to do to carry the mantle of
The curriculum taught includes
one-on-one counseling, setting standards, evaluating and
providing feedback, methods of motivating and how to produce
quality written products. The program's curriculum exposes
the students to dozens of leadership philosophies and
motivational theories, techniques to manage time, stress,
group dynamics, human diversity and joint operations.
"What makes the learning experience complete is that
students must incorporate concepts of time, stress and
conflict management," the instructor said. "They need to
actually be a better communicator, not only for briefings,
but to actually function as a team."
said he is in the best position since he began his Air Force
career, has instructed seven flights through the ALS program
and is currently working with his eighth. He said the
highlight of his work is witnessing the moment a student
realizes their potential to be an effective supervisor and
becomes aware of the difference they can make in a
A conviction to do right by their
Airmen is the most important ideal a supervisor can
maintain, according to Gambles. He said what drove him to
become an instructor was the lack of this conviction in many
"All across the service there are
members with mediocre to poor supervisors, and that was
severely affecting how they in-turn would supervise,"
"After I graduated from the NCO Academy
in December 2010, I realized I had strength in public
speaking," he added. "I felt I could use this talent to help
others and attempt to send a higher quality supervisor back
to the units."
Gambles does exactly that with every
course he instructs, according to Tangen, who said the ALS
courses focuses on leading by example and Gambles is able to
be that example the students can look up to while they are
"We can look back and think 'he did it that
way' and try to emulate that style that he sets being an
instructor, or basically a supervisor, for this course,"
Every class evolves into a team during
the course, according to Gambles. He said it is always great
to witness service members "going from conflicting with one
another to building friendships that will last for years.
"The pride and unity that culminates between all of the
students, and us, the staff, on graduation night -- that
never gets old," he said.
By USAF Senior Airman Cody H. Ramirez
Air Force News Service
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