By Senior Airman Melissa Harvey, 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 31, 2012
NAS Fort Worth JRB, Texas -- Two's company, three's a crowd, right?
The 301st Fighter Wing Education office recently put this theory to the test when filling slots for the Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Development Course.
Participants are typically all Air Force NCOs, but this time, Army, Navy, and Marine Corp members were invited to attend. It is the first time for the class to consist of multiple branches of service here.
In order to get other branches involved in the class, Chief Master Sgt. Wanda Dillon, chief of 301st Fighter Wing Education and Training, attended a monthly meeting with senior enlisted leaders from all branches on the base, explained the course and offered seats to each branch. Once that happened, she was able to put people in seats, said Chief Master Sgt. David White, Air Force Reserve Command's chief of Standards and Evaluation for NCOLDC.
It is also "The first class that we [AFRC] have had significant numbers of other branches," he said.
There were 22 members that participated in the course. Of that number, 16 were Air Force, five were Navy, and the remaining one was Army, according to Master Sgt. Mary Staffeld, 301st FW training office program manager for formal school.
The course was originally developed in 1989 due to a need for meaningful, challenging leadership training for mid-level enlisted personnel. To date, approximately 70,000 Reserve, civilian, and active duty personnel have attended the class.
Course material is comprised of hands-on training, lectures, and other teaching techniques.
"Students are taught how to apply leadership principles and then practice applying them in role plays, case studies, and exercises," said Staffeld. "They learn to work together as a team to accomplish tasks."
This class was the first one to use the Leadership Application Block, said White. It's designed to throw multiple issues at them at once. They have one hour and we stress them by throwing in staff meetings, then they have 10-12 minutes to prepare a briefing.
Due to a joint - class environment, course material was added, such as enlisted heritage and command information for the Army and Navy, according to Senior Master Sgt. Mark Dybiec, a class facilitator from the 910th Maintenance Squadron at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio.
"We learned how the other branches did their EPRs, their disciplinary structure, the difference in their chain of commands, the different responsibilities that come with their lower ranking members," said Staff Sergeant Laura Spurling, class leader and 301st Maintenance Squadron knowledge operations management administrator. "I would recommend that everyone who is in any branch of the military attend this course."
NCOs that attended the class not only benefitted from course material, but also from their classmate's perspectives.
"The individual branches can at times be a bit myopic as methods and practices are often repetitive, but with the feedback of multiple service participants, the subject became much broader," said Staff Sgt. Raul Valles, 90th Aviation Support Battalion platoon sergeant. "Being able to take the best practices from other components enables you to be more versatile and possibly more effective as a leader."
Also included in class curriculum is a requirement to participate in physical training, which is not included in courses elsewhere, said White.
Other activities included were kick ball, flag football, calisthenics, running, and yes, even Pilates.
During one PT session, a running clinic was held by Ironman competitor Staff Sgt. David Staffeld, 301st Communications Squadron radio frequency transmissions manager.
"I enjoyed the run clinic," said Valles. "The tools demonstrated can be passed down to our subordinates to improve their PT results."
If there is any question about whether or not a joint class is the way to go, just ask a leader.
"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what uniform you wear, leadership is leadership," said White.