3rd Wing Stands Up Inaugural ALA Class

  • Published
  • By Sheila deVera
  • JBER Public Affairs

A small group of Airmen from the 3rd Wing was chosen for the Airpower Leadership Academy's inaugural class, and graduated on July 14, 2022. Only 14 locations, including Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, are eligible for this new program.

The ALA program is a ten-week semi-formalized mentorship program designed to develop frontline supervisors and leaders. Each class is administered by a staff of senior non-commissioned volunteer service members, and each week there is one two-hour lesson. The training is designed for non-commissioned officers with 6-10 years of experience who want to build a strong foundation in leadership.

What distinguishes the ALA course is the fact that course alumni can choose the students for the next session. Squadron Senior Enlisted Leaders selected the students prior to the first class, but alumni will select candidates for the next class.

"The intent is to empower the graduating students to select their replacements," said Senior Master Sgt. Justin Daigle, 517th Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. "After all, they are in the best position to determine who will get the most benefit from attending this course."

The course teaches and explores five fundamental focus areas: Relationships, Expectations, Academics, Character, and Health.

Daigle mentioned that the course builds on tools provided during Enlisted Professional Military Education, facilitating peer discussions on how best to utilize them. This helps to bridge the generational divide between non-commissioned officers with over five years of experience and brand new Airmen, focusing on how the leaders think and lead.

"These five pillars, R-E-A-C-H, have been developed by the ALA cadre to articulate the perspective that one has to REACH in order to be a successful leader," Daigle said. "As an action verb, the mnemonic REACH conveys that leadership is not a passive "let it happen" attribute; rather, it is one that demands a focused and deliberate approach to deliberately develop sustainable leadership qualities."

As Colonel Travolis A. Simmons, 3rd Wing commander, prepares to pass the torch to a new wing commander, he shares his thoughts on the new class.

"Leadership development has been one of my top priorities as 3rd Wing Commander. Airpower Leadership Academy is a forum that allows us to focus on the non-commissioned officer tier, which is critical to successful operations and is a dynamic program that allows flexibility within the curriculum to tackle tough current issues," Simmons said. "Based on early feedback, I expect this program will become foundational to how we develop 3rd Wing Airmen in an effort to bridge the gap between the Airman Leadership School and Non-Commissioned Officer Academy."

Currently, the class is only open to Airmen from the 3rd Wing, but there is the possibility of expanding the class to include mission partners on the installation.