Satellite ALS class at Pease begins

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Curtis J. Lenz
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from a number of specialties across the New Hampshire Air National Guard who aspire to be front line supervisors began a Satellite Airman Leadership School course here May 9.

Ten Airmen enrolled in the course, also known as ALS, will spend each Saturday and Sunday through June 14 at Pease followed by a two week in-residence assignment at McGhee Tyson ANG Base in Tenn.

The students represent a cross section of the units from the base: air traffic control, civil engineering, force support, security, maintenance, logistics, and medical.

Instructors at McGhee Tyson work with trained facilitators at the unit level to provide the training to the future supervisors. The course is broadcast through the Air National Guard's Warrior Network satellite system. 

On hand to welcome the students were numerous senior leaders from the New Hampshire Air National Guard and the 157th Air Refueling Wing.

Col. Shawn "Rob" Burrus, 157 ARW commander, also on hand to welcome students, encouraged the future enlisted leaders to meet their full potential.

"I would say to this group, you're here participating in an exercise in broadening your horizon, broadening your skills sets, and just being a better leader, and better team player," he said.

He went on to acknowledge that each student is making a big commitment, noting the wing was committed to making this successful not only in this class but in future classes.

Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Jamie Lawrence expressed his joy that the course is offered as an alternative to enlisted members. He also spoke about the rigors of the course.

"The person on your right or left is your wingman," the command chief said. "For some of you this will come very easy to you academically, but for others, you may have to work a little harder. These are the folks that will help get you through this class together."

Lawrence encouraged them to start thinking like leaders.

When speaking on the value of this course, he noted that while 100 Airman in the wing are eligible for Airman Leadership School, only six are going in residence and 10 are in this course.

Senior Master Sgt. Michael Mercier, lead site facilitator, told students that this class is "... a rare opportunity."

Although this is the first ALS class to be held at Pease, it is not the first Professional Military Education course taught here. Pease hosted a Satellite NCO Academy class last fall for technical sergeants.

Burrus stressed the importance of teamwork throughout the course and career.

"What we are looking for is for you to pick those people up and show them a good way forward and I think going through courses like this will help you."

Pease is one of 17 locations across the country participating in the course. After completion of the first phase, the 17 locations and 158 students will come together at McGhee Tyson for the last phase.

Senior Master Sgt. Leonard Perkins, facilitator spoke about this format being the toughest of the three ways to do the course.

"These airmen have volunteered to stretch themselves by stepping outside their comfort zone to complete satellite ALS," said Perkins, a longtime instructor from the Mass. Air National Guard. "Students are able to apply principles they learn in each lesson immediately, providing better leaders for tomorrow with impact today, and a force multiplier for the future with their actions."

Technical Sgt. Nicole Elliot, another facilitator for the course, had a unique perspective because she is a recent graduate of the NCO course held at Pease.

"I understand exactly how they're feeling," she said. "It makes me really relatable to them."

The satellite course gives students a unique perspective, because as Elliot points out, "What they learned this weekend they can apply  to their every day jobs as soon as they walk out the door," she said.

Another aspect of the course Elliot highlights is networking with other senior airman across the installation.

"I think the biggest thing is that networking piece," she said. "They see where each unit fits into the puzzle of the base and the mission and it gives them a different perspective as far each other actually understanding the curriculum without just learning a test."

The course is a Community College of the Air Force classroom and students will receive 9 college credits upon completing the course in December.

Airmen have the option of attending the course in residence, correspondence and by satellite.

For further information on the class or to learn of future offerings, contact Senior Master Sgt. Tammy LaKemper at 603-430-3521.