Service members at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Professional Military Education Center listen to a speaker Dec. 8. The PMEC’s largest Airman Leadership School class ever graduates Friday. (U.S. Air Force photo/Justin Connaher)
JOINT BASE ELMENODRF-RICHARDSON, Alaksa —
The Joint-Base Elmendorf-Richardson Professional Military Education Center is responsible for developing excellence in future leaders throughout the Air Force.
On Dec. 18th, the largest Airman Leadership School class the PME Center has ever taught will graduate.
The PME Center has changed their construct to now operate an ALS course every other class, said Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Buck, 673d Air Base Wing director of education.
"We'll run a Noncommissioned Officer Academy class, followed by an ALS class, on an alternating schedule," Buck said.
Because the NCOA and ALS classes no longer run concurrently, the number of students waiting for an ALS class to begin has grown.
"What that's allowed us to do is to fill all seven classrooms with 16 students in each class," Buck said. "We've never run a seven-flight ALS class here before."
Due to the class size, instructors have had to work together and communicate more than ever.
"This class has definitely been unique," said Tech. Sgt. Sedrick Evans, 673d ABW PME instructor. "I feel that the way we've handled our first 112-person course has definitely set the tone for how ALS could run in the future."
Despite the large numbers, students still received the same amount of education and training.
"It's a really big class but we're all separated into different flights," said Senior Airman Samantha Valencia, 673d Dental Squadron dental technician. "Even though there [are] a bunch of people, you're still getting the individualized attention."
The instructors haven't left anyone behind, Valencia continued.
"Like they keep saying, its 112 in, its 112 out," Valencia said. "We've all succeeded because they've done such a good job."
In the midst of these challenges, the PME Center has gone through a fast turnover of instructors and also made sure their instructors were prepared to teach the course.
"Within the last eight months we've turned over about two-thirds of the staff," Buck said. "Within these seven classrooms, I have four trainee instructors getting certified. We have a lot of moving parts right now with the training of the new instructors and the training of the students as well," Buck said.
The PME has also sent a number of their instructors to Korea.
"Instructors from all over Pacific Air Force rotate because we don't have a dedicated staff in Korea," Buck said.
The instructors are sent there to help many Airmen get the professional development they need, Buck explained.
The PME Center added another first to their list when an instructor received his training in Korea.
Instructors get their certification training while teaching an ALS class. The PME Center decided to send the instructor to Korea in an effort to both help with the many students and provide the instructor with certification training.
"PACAF allowed us to send an extra instructor to Korea so he could do his certification training there," Buck said. "That had never been done before."
"We'll be sending three instructors in January to teach three flights, and when they come home we'll send three more instructors out." Buck said. "The first four months of the year we'll teach six flights of ALS in Korea."
Whether it's the largest ALS class, training instructors or teaching in Korea, the JBER PME Center continues to develop leadership skills in PACAF's warfighting Airmen.
"As our new motto states, 'In to learn, out to serve,'" Evans said.