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Face of Defense: Air Force School Hones Leadership Skills

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Levin Boland
97th Air Mobility Wing

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla., Jan. 31, 2014 – Every airman is a leader, whether they lead by example as a peer or in a formal duty position.

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After attending a lecture, Airman Leadership School instructors and students play foosball in the school’s break room at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., Jan. 28, 2014. The instructors and students use their leisure time playing foosball and pingpong after long sessions of class work. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Levin Boland

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Leadership is taught to each airman from the time they enter the Air Force. As junior enlisted airmen begin moving into the noncommissioned officer ranks, 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 leadership school here shapes more than 100 active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard airmen into leaders every year from military installations across the country.

Air Force 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.”

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

“It has been a really good experience,” said Air Force Senior Airman Sushil Torres, who traveled from Vance Air Force Base, Okla., to attend the leadership school here.

“It’s really great to be able to talk to my classmates to get their perspectives on different things and experiences,” Torres added. “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 on 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,” Torres said.


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