Thursday, December 13, 2007

TOP STORY >>Combat leadership course takes PME to next level

By Senior Airman Terri Barriere
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq — What does an Air Force supply noncommissioned officer and an Army infantry NCO have in common? What can someone who spends their days troubleshooting computers learn from someone who spends their days on convoys?

The answer is leadership. Regardless of the branch of service or specialized career field, one thing that remains constant is the need for good leadership and the ability to lead through tough situations.

To aid with these critical leadership skills, the Top Three Council here recently hosted an NCO combat-leadership seminar to help junior noncommissioned officers further their professional development.

“The direct focus of the course is combat missions at Balad, different from the universally covered professional development topics,” said Master Sgt. April Spiczka, 332nd Expeditionary Mission Support Group Detachment 1 first sergeant and a Top Three Council member.

The five-hour course focused on combat environment issues such situational awareness and performing combat missions outside the wire. The seminar offered a unique joint-service perspective and diversity by way of Army and Navy guest speakers.

Quick-reaction force team, special operations, pilots, special agents, a chief’s panel and first sergeant’s panel were highlights of the day. Brig. Gen. Burt Field, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Paul Wheeler, 332nd AEW command chief also addressed the group.

The combat leadership course is held at least once in every Air and Space Expeditionary Force rotation; however, this time the council decided to punch it up. The course was evaluated and revamped to ensure no part of the curriculum duplicated home-station professional military education.

“This isn’t your traditional PME,” said Master Sgt. Michael Cole, 777th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron first sergeant and a Top Three Council member. “This class is tailored to the environment we’re in. It’s what’s going on here and outside the wire, and showing you how it relates to your job.”

Staff Sgt. Kevin Cain, a 332nd EMSG Det. 1 operations desk technician deployed from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., said he thought the seminar did a good job of offering different points of views.

“Overall, I got a better sense of accomplishment from knowing how I fall into things,” he said. “We were able to hear from people who actually lived through situations I was directly involved in, and I’m going to be able to take that experience home and apply it there.”
For others, the best part about the seminar was the insight gained from hearing from those with unique experiences. Tech. Sgt. Janet Croswell, 332nd EMSG Det. 1, operations desk NCO in charge deployed from the Missouri Air National Guard, said the mentoring opportunities with the chiefs and first sergeants will help her become a better NCO.

“I learned a lot from hearing how they handled the problems and issues throughout the years,” she said. “Experience is looking you right in the face with this course. There’s no reading out of books, just real-life experience.”

The next class for deployed Airmen is tentatively scheduled for December. For more information contact unit Top Three representatives.


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