Training Airmen today to be NCOs tomorrow

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Levin Boland
  • 97 Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Every Airman is a leader, whether they lead by example as a peer or in a formal duty position.

This is taught to each one of us from the time we enter the Air Force and is engraved into our memory by the end of our careers. As junior-enlisted Airmen begin moving into the non-commissioned officer tier, they are expected to become more effective leaders.

This starts in Airman Leadership School where the 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."

The Altus AFB ALS shapes more than 100 active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard Airmen into leaders every year from military installations across the country.

Staff Sgt. Phillip Ryan, 97th Force Support Squadron ALS instructor, has taught more than 25 classes so far.

"I have been an instructor for three and a half years and it's honestly one of my favorite jobs in the Air Force," Ryan said. "It has been a very rewarding experience and also just seeing that 'Aha' moment where the students just finally figure out why I am sitting in this classroom right now or why is it important that I learn about this specific lesson about this specific component of being a leader or being a supervisor."

During the five-week course, the students learn a variety of leadership skills such as counseling Airmen, writing enlisted performance reports, marching flights and giving speeches.

"It has been a really good experience," said Senior Airman Sushil Torres who traveled from Vance Air Force Base, Okla. to attend ALS. "It's really great to be able to talk to my classmates to get their perspectives on different things and experiences. The pace has been pretty hectic but because we work together and make sure we stay on top of each other to get things done, it has made it a lot easier."

Torres and other students from class 14-B are scheduled to graduate ALS Feb. 7, 2014.

"You learn all this information but it's not enough to just know it anymore, you have to know how to apply it to different situations and there are always variables to consider as a supervisor when you are dealing with your Airmen. I'm looking forward to getting to learn these lessons this time around. It's been a pretty good experience," Torres said.