Airmen benefit from wing's first Airman Development Course
By Tech. Sgt. Catharine Schmidt, 109th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 30, 2015
STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. -- Junior Airmen from different offices on base got together this week to gain insight, receive tools and learn skills to help them as they progress in their careers with the 109th Airlift Wing.
Fourteen Airmen, E-3s through E-5s, were part of the first Airman Development Course held here Jan. 28-30, a little more than a year after the 109th AW's successful launch of the Leadership Development Course for mid-level Airmen.
"We have to come up with unique ways to develop our Airmen," said Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th AW command chief. "This is held at the wing and being instructed by volunteers at the wing."
The Chief's Council sponsors the Leadership Development Course, while both the First Six Council (representing the wing's junior enlisted members) and the Top 3 Association (representing the wing's senior enlisted members) had a part in putting together the Airman Development Course. The First Six Council was given the opportunity to name the course and many also provided feedback in what they would like to see from it. The Top 3 Association sponsors the Airman Development Course.
"Our job as senior (noncommissioned officers) is to provide training and information on what the Airmen are asking for," said Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Trottier, who taught the public speaking portion of the class.
Staff Sgt. Vanessa Clark, 109th Security Forces Squadron, said she took the course to better herself and make herself more valuable to the base.
"I wasn't expecting it to be like this at all; I thought it was going to be more of a death by PowerPoint thing," she said. "It's very interactive, the subjects change constantly, there are different instructors, and everything we're learning in the class, I really don't think I would've known otherwise."
Airmen received briefings on benefits they were entitled to, information on the evaluation process, conflict resolution, teambuilding, Air Force heritage, 109th AW history and instruction on public speaking, which culminated on the students giving speeches in front of their peers. Much like the Leadership Development Course, they also had the opportunity to network with Airmen from other sections on the base, which some may have not otherwise had the chance to do.
"I didn't know what to expect, so I came in with an open mind and am really glad I took the course," said Airman 1st Class Darren Durfee of the 109th Small Air Terminal. "The overall experience has been great."
Each Airman was given a binder with all the information they were briefed on. Durfee said he plans on using the binder as a reference guide after the class.
"There are a lot of things that we don't always get to talk to our supervisors about," he said. "So the binders and the notes we have from the class we can reference later on. I know I'm going to benefit from that, and I assume other people will too."
"I wanted to advance my position at the base, and I knew this would be a good step to get that done, and also I'm planning on taking the (Airman Leadership School) satellite course in May so I thought this would be a good precursor to doing that," said Senior Airman Ronald Butler, of the 109th Medical Group. "I took a lot away from the finance part of it and the public speaking -- being able to talk to large groups of people. Also just knowing all about the base and where it came from and the history."
To close out the course, Brig. Gen. Anthony German, New York Air National Guard chief of staff, stopped by to speak to the Airmen about the importance of the Air National Guard as well as their careers.
"Each one of you is going to have a career, and there is going to be a start date and an end date," he told the class. "And between the two there's a big dash - however long it's going to be - what are you going to do with that dash?"
The Airmen had the chance to ask the general questions about his career and the military as a whole before the course came to an end.
"They're our future," Giaquinto said of the junior Airmen. "They're going to be where we're at some day, so we're just using this course to set them up."
"What better way to train the future than to hold these classes," Trottier said.
The next ADC class is scheduled for April and others are planned for June and September. Airmen can contact their first sergeants for more information and to register.