Airmen complete 109th AW's first leadership course

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Catharine Schmidt
  • 109th AW Public Affairs
More than 25 New York Air National Guardsmen got "re-blued" over the January Unit Training Assembly during the 109th Airlift Wing's first Leadership Development Course held by the 109th AW Chief's Council.

The three-day course, held Jan. 10-12 for technical sergeants through senior master sergeants and second lieutenants through captains, covered topics including Profession of Arms, performance review writing, time management and career management.

In an article published in October, Chief Master Sgt. Amy Giaquinto, 109th AW command chief, said her priorities mirror Chief Master Sgt. James Hotaling, Air National Guard command chief, which is for Airmen to renew their commitment to the Profession of Arms and Health of the Force, and recognize/embrace our accomplishments. These three focus areas cover training, leadership, mentorship, the "little Brown Book", safety, resilience, recognition and realizing how each Airman fits into the mission.

Giaquinto had said she wanted to bring all this back through the Leadership Development Course.

"I was expecting to gain some valuable tools that I could take back with me to my office to utilize in my job," said Senior Master Sgt. Brian Roberts, human resources specialist with Joint Forces Headquarters in Latham. "I was hoping it wouldn't be death by PowerPoint, and it turned out it wasn't. It was really great getting to meet some of the men and women who work on the base. They bring a lot of perspective and diversity from working in the field that I normally wouldn't get a chance to see while working here at (the Division of Military and Naval Affairs)."

Chief Master Sgt. Mark Schaible, 109th Logistics Readiness Squadron, said one of their goals was to get Airmen to know others around the base. "All these people now know people they probably didn't even know before the course because of the different duty sections. Now they have a common ground after going through the course together."

"Seeing the different perspectives from different areas on the base is not always available when you are coming in doing your job and going home," said Tech. Sgt. Anna Franklin, noncommissioned officer in charge of formal schools with the 109th Force Support Squadron. "Talking to other members in the unit that work in all different areas provided the exposure to how what we each do really impacts the mission."

Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Trottier, 109th Intelligence Office, served as an instructor for a teambuilding exercise on the second day. Students were separated into three teams and given a box of uncooked spaghetti and a bag of marshmallows. They had 50 minutes to build a tower with just those supplies.

"The goal was to come together as a team to build the highest tower," said Trottier. "We asked what strategies they used, did they assign taskers and how they communicated. Did the teamwork work, did they establish a goal? We also wanted to know what challenges they had. Everybody did a great job. The winning team built a tower that was 39.5 inches. They all communicated and worked as a team, even with the time constraint."

"Exposure to problem solving with other members in the unit was eye opening," Franklin said. "Everyone has a different perspective, but working together we can come to a solution."

"It was a very good way to teach how you can accomplish a common goal when you work together," said Master Sgt. Donna Torres, equal employment specialist at Joint Forces Headquarters.
Along with teamwork, Torres said some of the things she took away from the weekend were "leadership skills, a better understanding of the (Enlisted Performance Review) process, great information about counseling subordinates, (the importance of) communication, programs that were offered by the Wellness Center, dress and appearance, great pointers on organizing outlook, and much more."

"I would absolutely recommend others to take this course," Roberts said. "In the Guard, we sometimes don't have the opportunities to attend these types of courses. Any chance a member gets to get 're-blued' they should jump on it. We should never stop trying to learn and grow as NCOs and senior NCOs."

Schaible said they received very positive feedback from the students. He said their feedback is what will continue to make the course even better.

"One of the key things we kept reiterating to the class is this is not the Chief's Council's class, this is your class," he said. "You can help us do this better for the next class. This should be an ever-evolving and changing leadership development course."

"I was fortunate to observe different portions of (the course)," Giaquinto said. "Leaders came together to create the three-day course curriculum and a small group of students were the first to take advantage of this training opportunity. I want to thank both groups for laying the groundwork, and I am looking forward to more future leaders attending this course in the upcoming months. I highly encourage all 109th members take advantage of this unique training opportunity."

The chief's council is already looking at dates for the next course. Airmen who are interested should be on the lookout for announcements and talk with their first sergeants about signing up.