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Leading by example: Master Sgt. Josef Albert

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Bryan Crane
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Twelve years ago, Senior Airman Josef Albert was in Airman Leadership School learning the finer points of being a supervisor and an NCO in the world's greatest Air Force.

Today, Master Sgt. Albert is commandant of Whiteman's Airman Leadership School, and was recently named Air Force Global Strike Command's 2013 Senior NCO of the Year, earning the prestigious award for his role as commandant, community involvement, educational accomplishments, and instructing more than 230 Airmen annually on the importance of being good leaders and role models.

"It was a huge honor," Albert said. "I was floored when I won at the bomb wing level, so win or lose at the 8th Air Force level, I was honored to just be there." Albert added he became more nervous after winning the award.

"I became nervous because I expect so much of someone who wins an award at that level," he said. "Being recognized for such a high-level award I started to think, 'am I going to be able to exemplify the type of example one would expect from someone winning an award like this.' I expect a lot of myself and want to live up to other Airmen's expectations as well."

Albert has dedicated his Air Force career to teaching Airman in any capacity he could since his first days as a supervisor at Hurlburt Field, Florida, and as a Military Training Leader at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.

"I came in at 18 and didn't always make the right decisions as a young airman," Albert said. "It was when I went to ALS that Staff Sgt. Matt Smith helped push me in the right direction and made me really believe in professional military education."

During his first supervisory role, Albert realized being a supervisor meant more than just delegating tasks to his Airmen. Being a supervisor he had to pay close attention and get to know his Airmen, and by doing this, he could possibly help them avoid mistakes that could cost them their careers.

"That experience early as a supervisor really made me think twice," Albert said. "I realized that I wanted to do more in a leadership role and help counseling Airmen on a larger scale."

The drive to do more led Albert to apply to be a MTL at Keesler AFB, his first role as a higher leadership figure.

"I ranked up fast while at Keesler and became a flight chief," Albert said. "My commander asked me about my future and what I would like to do. So I told him I would love to be an ALS Commandant. He wrote in my EPR that I would be a perfect fit in that role."

Three years later he was accepted to run the ALS program here at Whiteman.

"This is in my heart, something I've wanted to do for a long time," Albert said "I am truly passionate about helping others to succeed. Seeing people achieve a sense of fulfillment in their lives and doing anything I can along the way to help is what fuels me day to day."

Albert uses the acronym RULE, which he devised years ago, as a way for him and others to succeed in life.

"RULE stands for remember, understand, learn and exemplify," Albert said. "I try to remember our heritage and those who've lost their lives for our country. No matter how bad of a day you seem to be having you can remember them and know you haven't sacrificed as much as they have. You need to make sure you really understand the core values of our Air Force. To show you understand integrity, service before self and excellence in all I do in your everyday actions not to just mindlessly say the words. You need to take every experience in life, good or bad, and learn for them. You have to really be active and seek out knowledge. Finally, you always want to exemplify. You want to be that person that always sets the example, the person others look up to."

Albert grew up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and has been married to Dolsie Tomek for 15 years. They have three children: Kayla, Ethen and Kaden.

"It's an awesome experience," Albert said of being a father. "After work I don't have a lot of free time, I'm going to school for my Master's degree in leadership, which takes up most of my time out of work, so I really enjoy spending as much time as I can with my kids."

Albert wanted to recognize the other senior NCOs at Whiteman and said he would not have won this award without their guidance and support.

"I'm not in this position to try to win awards," Albert concluded. "But I'm glad I was recognized for something I love doing; it really reaffirms my faith that our system works."