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SNCOs teach supervisors personal leadership values

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kari Degraffenreed
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Senior noncommissioned officers from the 97th Air Mobility Wing held a ten-week Airpower Leadership Academy course for NCOs at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, from September to November 2023.

Airpower Leadership Academy is a training program designed for supervisors which  challenges them to develop their professional values and personal leadership philosophy. The class is targeted to staff sergeants and technical sergeants, as well as civilians in supervisory positions.

The most recent class is the fifth iteration of ALA since the incorporation of the professional military education course by a first sergeant who brought the course over from his previous base. The idea is to fill the gap in professional military education between Airmen Leadership School and Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

Each week has consisted of a single two-hour class led by senior NCOs from across the base. They facilitated conversations based on real-life experiences that align with a weekly topic that pertains to leadership, emotional intelligence, time management, diversity, and work-life balance.

“The point is for the senior NCOs to teach the topics through their own experiences,” said Master Sgt. Robert Laxton, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron first sergeant. “We want them to teach the material but weave in their own leadership values to give the students a better perspective.”

Aside from the professional development, students are also encouraged to network with their fellow students, whom they may not meet in any other capacity.

“As NCOs we have to network to get the mission done,” said Staff Sgt. Angelo Castagnaro, 97th Civil Engineer Squadron pavements and equipment supervisor. “It benefits us when we can communicate directly with people in other squadrons to provide support for the team or to help the mission.”

At the end of their course, each student had to do a presentation based on an interview, or series of interviews, they conducted with SNCOs from around the base. This gave the students one-on-one face time with senior NCOs who imparted leadership and personal values, character-building advice, and advice on how to make the most out of their military career.

“I want to be an effective leader,” said Castagnaro. “This class has helped me to grow myself and my leadership skills to directly benefit my Airmen.”