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Starting line of leadership
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. - Tech. Sgt. Joseph Laxson, 509th Force Support Squadron, Airman Leadership School (ALS) instructor briefs his flight on the upcoming 5 weeks of curriculum April 9, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Huddleston) (Released)
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Starting line of leadership

Posted 4/15/2010   Updated 4/15/2010 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Cody H. Ramirez
509 Bomb Wing Public Affairs

4/15/2010 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- In the words of the great Vince Lombardi, "Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve ... any goal."

At some point in every Airmen's career they will learn to be one of the "chiefs of the tribe." The Whiteman Airmen Leadership School is a building block for these Airmen taking their next step in leadership.

"ALS is intended to teach Airmen to be effective supervisors in today's Air Force," said Master Sgt. Randy Johnson, the Whiteman ALS commandant. "We teach Airmen four attributes throughout ALS: military professionalism, expeditionary Airmen, supervisor Airmen, and supervisor communicator."

The school is 192 classroom hours spread throughout 24 academic days. They are spread through a four- to five-week course, depending on the time of the year. There are seven classes a year and an average of 32 Airmen in each class.

"We jam the program with as much information and leadership philosophy as possible," he said.

Before ALS was born October 1, 1991, the leadership class was two weeks long.

"What we teach now is more strict and rigid than ever before," said Sergeant Johnson.
"They're going to earn that diploma.

"We give them relevant information and knowledge Airmen will need on an everyday basis to be the next batch of leaders." he said.

Staff Sgt. Tiffany Mathews and Tech. Sgt. Tabetha Coley are two Airmen looking to take their leadership training to an even higher level. They are scheduled to start instructing at Whiteman ALS this summer.

"I took this job for not only for the personal challenge, but to challenge the Airmen," said Sergeant Coley.

They both believe in hard work and the motto 'practice makes perfect.'

"The hard work is rewarding when you see the students retaining what you teach them," Sergeant Mathews said.

As instructors, they are like the hands forming the Play-Doh, an Airmen's values and beliefs. This is what drew the two sergeants to their new Air Force roles.

"I'm glad to assist in molding and shaping the future leaders of the Air Force," said Sergeant Coley.

The program is a great help to not only the Airmen taking the course, but also the instructors.

"What we learn here is priceless," Sergeant Mathews said. "It not only benefits who we instruct at ALS, but it will also improve our personal leadership positions back at our squadrons."

The values and ideas behind "leading the pack" are taught at ALS, but it doesn't end there.

"Airmen don't walk out of ALS as impressive supervisors," Sergeant Johnson said. "We give them the tools to mold themselves into effective leaders. After us it's about them and what they want out of themselves and their careers."

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