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Teaching Future Leaders - Airman Leadership School
by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Erin Baxter
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
January 27, 2020

Airman Leadership School is a transitional period for many young Airman working toward gaining a leadership role in the Air Force. Leadership is a learned trait, and the Air Force ensures all Airmen get a crash course in what it means to be a leader.

Instructors who teach these Airmen are responsible for shaping the future of the Air Force, instilling lessons for a high level of responsibility. Instructors also need to emulate and hone their leadership skills.

October 28, 2019 - Airmen in the Airman Leadership School perform cool-down stretches following physical training at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Airman Leadership School is a preparatory course for Airmen to learn leadership and critical-thinking skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erin Baxter)
October 28, 2019 - Airmen in the Airman Leadership School perform cool-down stretches following physical training at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Airman Leadership School is a preparatory course for Airmen to learn leadership and critical-thinking skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erin Baxter)

Tech. Sgt. Tiffany R. Self, 15th Wing Professional Military Education instructor, previously worked in the 647th Security Forces Squadron. Once selected, she was trained in a six-month-long course to be able to mold Airmen into leaders within their units.

“Sometimes we have an NCOA class right after an ALS one, so we have to make sure we don’t get the two curriculums confused,” Self said. “I think that’s the toughest part.”

As a PME instructor, Self is proficient in both ALS and NCOA, the Noncommissioned Officer Academy. Most bases are equipped to conduct ALS classes, but there are only six NCOA classes statewide and four overseas. It’s unique that these instructors have both ALS and NCOA certifications.

The course for ALS lasts 24 days, where Airman from every career field get together to learn how to lead subordinates effectively. They are taught lessons on the Profession of Arms, communication, expeditionary Airmen and supervision.

From classroom discussions about topics that were read the night before, to group PT several times a week, the Airmen are expected to learn about Air Force regulations and rules, as well as working well with each other. When they complete the course, whether or not they hold the rank of Staff Sgt., they are allowed to supervise and write performance reports on subordinates.

September 5, 2019 - Whiteman Airman Leadership School Class 19-F graduates during a ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Airman Leadership School trains Airmen the skills needed to lead others and work as supervisors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)
September 5, 2019 - Whiteman Airman Leadership School Class 19-F graduates during a ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Airman Leadership School trains Airmen the skills needed to lead others and work as supervisors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Tech. Sgt. Bryan Moraine, also an instructor, says he finds it rewarding to invigorate an Airman or NCO’s confidence. Sometimes, Airmen arrive to class and seem disinterested.

“They come here and we can help them re-find their purpose in the Air Force,” Moraine said. “I like it when I can reach them, and transform their views.”

As instructors, they are challenged with inspiring tomorrow’s leaders, and they continue to learn and grow in the classroom themselves. For Self, being a PME instructor has been a rewarding experience.

“Sometimes I hear our students say that they wish they had leadership that mentored them more,” Self said. “As instructors, we can get those different perspectives and take it back to our work centers. The different experiences help out the instructors just as much as it will help the students out, if not more.”

Developmental Special Duty nominations occur twice a year in which commanders have the opportunity to submit technical sergeants or master sergeants that they believe would be good for the job.

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American Pride: Poems Honoring America and Her Patriots! by David G. Bancroft