NCO course develops future leaders

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jonathan Hehnly
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Twenty-five perspective Air Force leaders of the future were recently selected to attend an interactive leadership development course hosted by the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station. 

An Air Force Reserve Command NCO leadership development course designed to provide mid-level enlisted personnel with hands-on experience in leadership and management practices, was held here May 9-13, 2016.

Twelve staff sergeants and thirteen technical sergeants were chosen to attend the course taught by Senior Master Sgt. Barb Woodruff, from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, and Tech. Sgt. James Lee, from Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio.

“This force development course is about growing tomorrow’s leaders today,” said Woodruff. “It is important to develop and groom our mid-level leaders so they will be equipped with the necessary tools to one day take over our senior NCO positions, but do it better. It’s about continuous process improvement and keeping this great Air Force going.”

The interactive course focused on providing an academic foundation of the principles of the NCO leadership role, establishing a network of cooperation between members of Air Force components, developing communicative skills, and improving supervisory qualities.

Through the combination of guided discussion, role playing exercises, and case studies, students gained hands-on experience in the dynamics of leadership and management in the workplace. The course covered NCO core competencies such as, foundations of leadership, organizational leadership, effective communication, strategic thinking, employing military capabilities and embodying Airman culture.

For Staff Sgt. Brian Sauls, a dental technician with the 911th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, the class was about more than just routine information.

“The NCOLDC was a wonderful and empowering experience,” said Sauls. “The stellar instructors and course information have given me a foundation to build on my leadership, communication, and management skills.”

Selection for the NCOLDC was a competitive process. Group commanders were asked to pick out their perspective leaders of the future. Forty-seven junior NCOs applied and 25 were singled chosen. According to 911th Airlift Wing Command Chief Brian L. Zator, only approximately 52 of the 480 eligible staff and technical sergeants in the wing had previously had the opportunity to attend the course.

Beyond having the opportunity to attend the NCOLDC, the 25 junior NCOs also had the chance to have their graduation presided over by the AFRC 22nd Air Force commander, Maj. General Stayce D. Harris.

Prior to graduation, several chiefs spoke to the junior NCOs about their role in taking care of and developing their airmen. The senior enlisted personnel spoke well of their own NCOLDC experiences and how it is another opportunity to add more tools to the NCO toolkit. The chief master sergeants words enforced through years of experience resonated in with some of the NCOs.

“My ultimate goal as an NCO is to make sure the Airmen assigned to me are prepared to accomplish the mission,” said Sauls. “If anyone is looking to maximize their effectiveness and effectiveness of their people, I highly recommend this course.”