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ASL: training future AF leaders
Students attending Airmen Leadership School receive their first official inspection here Aug. 1. The ALS mission is to prepare Senior Airmen to be professional, warfighting Airmen who can supervise and lead Air Force work teams to support the employment of air, space, and cyberspace power. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Laura Turner)
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ALS: training future AF leaders

Posted 8/9/2011   Updated 8/9/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class Bahja J. Jones
11th Wing Public Affairs


8/9/2011 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Senior airmen and staff sergeant selects alike gather anxiously in an auditorium of strangers as they take on the first of many Air Force milestones in their careers. As they prepare to cross the threshold from junior enlisted Airman to NCO, these Airmen will be given all the tools necessary to be successful leaders and supervisors in the Air Force.

The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Donald L. Harlow Airman Leadership School is located in the Education and Training building here. The school is responsible for all Airman Leadership School within the entire National Capital Region.

"Our mission is to prepare senior airmen and staff sergeants to be work center supervisors stateside, abroad and downrange," said Tech. Sgt.Todd Jones, ALS NCO in charge.

"It was overwhelming," said Staff Sgt. Ryan Tonniges, 779th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician and class commander, as he explained his first day of class. As the most senior ranking Airman in his ALS class, he was named "class commander" and took on the responsibility of being accountable for everyone in his class, drill and ceremony and ensuring each class performs their assigned tasks and duties.

During ALS, the instructors focus on what are called the "4 Key Graduate Attributes" which are: military professionalism, supervisory communicator, expeditionary Airmen and supervisory of Airmen.

"One of the most important topics, within the Military Professionalism competency, is the Enlisted Force Structure," said Jones. "It helps them to understand their role in the big picture as NCOs."

The instructors also touch on key subjects such as Air Force heritage, time management, Enlisted Performance Report writing, leadership styles and warrior mindset.

While in ALS, Airmen renew their sense of Air Force pride and gain a better understanding for what it really means to be an Airman in the Air Force.

"People forget the little things about the Air Force overtime, but while in professional military education, Airmen are reminded every day," said Jones. "Rather than using the term reblue-ing, which many people use to describe ALS, it's better explained as reminding Airmen why they signed up."

Over the five week course, the Airmen are also working toward honor graduate distinctions. The highest and most prestigious ALS graduation award is the John L. Levitow Award given to the Airman who excels both academically and as a leader during the course. There is also an academic award, for the Airman with the highest grade point average. The top 10 percent of the class are also recognized as distinguished graduates. Finally, the Commandant or Leadership Award is voted on by the instructors as well as their peers. The top four Airmen are interviewed by the Commandant for selection.

"I really liked ALS because it was a good opportunity to integrate the leadership qualities the Air Force wants you to learn," said Staff Sgt. Devon Suits, 7th Intelligence Squadron NCOIC component level repair technician, Fort Meade, Md., and recent ALS graduate. "Also, you get a better understanding of the overall impact each individual has on the mission."

Airman leadership school is required for all Airmen when they reach 48 months time in service or when they are named staff sergeant select.

"We're training our replacements," said Master Sgt. Maria Cozad, ALS Commandant."Today's Airmen are smarter and faster than ever before and our staff does a great job of equipping them for today's Air Force as well as the future."



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