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Empowering future leaders

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Spencer Tobler
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss.-- In today’s rapidly changing domain, the new generation of Airmen are our greatest weapon. The creativity, bravery and competency of our nation’s newest warfighters will prove vital to the outcomes of our future endeavors.

“The Air Force has already given me so many opportunities to grow and become a better person,” said Airman Madelyn Brown, 336th Training Squadron cyber transport student. “I think giving young Airmen opportunities to make important decisions will simply allow us to grow more throughout our career.”

As the Air Force evolves, the Airmen must evolve with it, and the leaders of today must strive to develop the leaders of tomorrow.

“We’re empowering our young Airmen because we understand empowerment will only help students when they transition into the operational Air Force,” said Master Sgt. Kenyatta Dixon, 338th Training Squadron flight chief. “They’ll have more confidence when they arrive to their first base and it’ll prompt them to be more willing to share some of their great ideas.”

Through meetings with their military training leaders, having their own Airman’s council and having comment boxes around their dorms, the 81st Training Group offers students plenty of ways to voice their opinions and concerns.

“They’re offered ample opportunities to speak, be heard and feel like they have a seat at the table,” said Dixon. “When I came through tech school, we weren’t a part of that decision making process at all. We want Airmen to know that they matter. You never know what you can learn from the person next to you, regardless of rank.”

Young Airmen realize that with more power and trust comes more accountability.

“It’s only right,” said Brown. “Anyone who strives to be a decision-maker has to be held accountable. Someone who simply cannot take critiques should not be able to lead.”

As Brown prepares for her first permanent change of station, she will bring a fresh perspective to her new unit.

“During my time here, I’ve learned how to interact with my peers, manage my time and practice discipline. It’s only prepared me to be more involved once I go operational,” said Brown. “People of all ranks, all ages and all backgrounds contribute to the mission. Just because someone may has less experience than the other doesn’t mean their ideas aren’t valid. We’re starting to realize the value that everyone has to offer.”