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Face of Defense: Former Instructor Returns to Classroom to Ease Shortage

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrea Salazar Joint Base Charleston

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JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 20, 2017 — Air Force Master Sgt. Darryl Lane volunteered to return to the classroom here to teach leadership to younger airmen.

Air Force Master Sgt. Darryl Lane, center, 628th Medical Group training manager, stands with the Airman Leadership School’s commandant and other instructors during a graduation ceremony at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Aug. 31, 2017. Lane filled an instructor shortage at the school by volunteering to teach until a new instructor arrives. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Salazar
Air Force Master Sgt. Darryl Lane, center right, 628th Medical Group training manager, stands with the Airman Leadership School’s commandant and other instructors during a graduation ceremony at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Aug. 31, 2017. Lane filled an instructor shortage at the school by volunteering to teach until a new instructor arrives. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Salazar
Air Force Master Sgt. Darryl Lane, center, 628th Medical Group training manager, stands with the Airman Leadership School’s commandant and other instructors during a graduation ceremony at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Aug. 31, 2017. Lane filled an instructor shortage at the school by volunteering to teach until a new instructor arrives. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Salazar Instructor
Air Force Master Sgt. Darryl Lane, center right, 628th Medical Group training manager, stands with the Airman Leadership School’s commandant and other instructors during a graduation ceremony at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., Aug. 31, 2017. Lane filled an instructor shortage at the school by volunteering to teach until a new instructor arrives. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrea Salazar

Lane, who’d previously taught at the base’s noncommissioned officer academy, has worked at the Airman Leadership School since May.

Lane is assigned to the 628th Medical Group.

Call to Duty

Lane was needed to teach “because another instructor just left to be the commandant at Incirlik Air Base [in Turkey],” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jordan Fiebelkorn, another instructor at the leadership school who works with Lane.

During a previous assignment in Colorado, Lane taught technical sergeants at Peterson Air Force Base’s NCO academy from April 2012 to April 2016.

“The most significant part of this experience for me was being around airmen versus technical sergeants at the NCO academy. I spent four years hearing about ‘these airmen now-a-days,’ to now seeing first hand that ‘these airmen’ are smart, capable and willing to learn,” Lane said. “They want to know and understand the way the Air Force works so they are prepared to be NCOs and frontline supervisors in the future.

“Many airmen,” he continued, “hear [from some leaders] that they ask too many questions and they don’t just do what they’re told without asking why. And leadership gripes about how unprepared they are to assume further responsibility.”

Lane added, “This experience demonstrated to me that as leaders we can’t have it both ways. These airmen are tremendous assets to our Air Force.”

During the five-week course, the instructors prepare senior airmen to be professional leaders who can supervise Air Force teams.

Rewarding Assignment

“Teaching current and upcoming Air Force leaders is humbling and incredibly rewarding,” Lane said. “The ultimate feeling of satisfaction as a teacher is seeing the ‘light bulbs’ come on as students realize what they are capable of after being armed with these invaluable leadership tools. I truly feel like I’m in my element.”

Out of Lane’s 12 students, three received four of the six awards given upon graduation. Lane will continue to fill the roles of unit training manager and ALS instructor.

“I hope to continue to nurture honest leadership among all airmen I have an opportunity to come across,” Lane said. “I want to help people to understand what their true motivation in life is and how to attain their goals. Helping people realize their potential is what excites me and I hope to be able to do it for a long time.”