Taking a step outside of their AFSC: Airman Leadership School cadre

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Editor’s Note: This feature is part four of a four-part series on Special Duties and the Developmental Special Duty program.

There is no greater responsibility in the Air Force than training the men and women who raise their right hand to serve their country.

As Airmen, professionals and future leaders, trainees’ development depends on the mentors they meet and the Professional Military Education they receive throughout their Air Force careers.

Airman Leadership School is the first interaction enlisted members receive with the Enlisted PME program. ALS delivers both basic and comprehensive learning requirements necessary to supervise and promote.

“As commandant, my biggest responsibility is to ensure the school house operates within the confines of Thomas N. Barnes Center instruction and remains up to date on all curriculum to ensure our promotees are trained and ready to be supervisors,” said Master Sgt. Stephanie Horn, 92nd Force Support Squadron ALS commandant.

The commandant is just one member of the skilled, certified and passionate ALS team who provides training and education to enlisted members. Horn is joined by four other leaders who form the instructor cadre team.

“My job is to convey the Barnes Center curriculum and other information deemed necessary by the Air Force to the students,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Allessie, 92nd FSS ALS instructor. “We receive real-time feedback for base and Air Force issues that students see on a daily basis and relate them to the curriculum being taught.”

Although the individual Airmen Leadership Schools are managed by their respective major commands, the Thomas N. Barnes Center discharges Air University's responsibility for the education of enlisted leaders throughout the Air Force. Since its inception in 1993 as the College for Enlisted Professional Military Education, the Barnes Center has been refining, adapting and deploying PME curriculum for enlisted education in the Air Force.

They provide comprehensive curriculum materials and program management guidance to the 68 active duty ALSs and one Air National Guard ALS located around the world.

The in-house course is 24 days of training and prepares senior airmen to be professional, war-fighting Airmen who can supervise and lead Air Force work teams to support the employment of airpower.

“We are not here to make good leaders; we give leaders the tools they need to become great,” Allessie said. “It is my job to give them the tools they need to go out and lead their Airmen in the right direction.”

Both Horn and Allessie were the first of their team to become PME instructors through the Developmental Special Duty program.

“Through the DSD process, we end up getting some individuals who maybe didn’t realize some of the talents they have,” Horn said. “You get to see people coming out of their shell and getting a better understanding for what gifts they may possess.”

The DSD program “vectors” eligible service members twice a year to ensure the highest quality Airmen are assigned to positions such as PME instructors.

“This special duty is a great opportunity I would not have had prior to the DSD program because I come from a critically manned field,” Allessie said. “I went from directly impacting the mission as a boom operator to directly impacting Airmen.”

Airmen nominated for a DSD position must be the best in the Air Force and must be an ambassador and role model for Air Force core values and discipline.

“I wanted this job, and it is by far the best job I’ve had in the Air Force,” Horn said. “It’s rewarding hearing from various students that before coming here, they didn’t feel like they had a place in today’s Air Force; after being in the flight room with the instructor cadre, they are forever changed, re-inspired and want to continue to inspire future Airmen.”

To be eligible for this position, a Community College of the Air Force degree is required and the applicant must have the ability to speak clearly and communicate well with others. They must also have high standards of military appearance, image, military bearing and conduct.

For more information visit http://www.afpc.af.mil/Developmental-Special-Duty/