Commentary

November 8, 2013

PME – Building Air Force future

Capt. DAVID RAPER
56th Dental Squadron

Leadership is a trait that we all desire and strive to become better at no matter what level we are. Leadership knows no one specific career field or specialty. It is applicable across all aspects of life. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower said it best, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

Eisenhower’s quote makes leadership sound so easy and simple but as we all know, it is much more complex. Leadership is the culmination of knowing your people, having a vision and having the drive to accomplish a specific mission. But where do we learn to become leaders? Is it from our parents, teachers, mentors, or coaches, or are we really just born with it?

No matter where we originally learn to become leaders we can always become better ones. The best way to become better at anything is practice. Therefore the best way to become a leader is to constantly place yourself in positions that cause you to make decisions, direct people and learn from more experienced leaders. This is the reason company grade officers are often placed in charge of projects and tasks in the Air Force.

As a CGO we are required to become subject matter experts in our tactical area. Yet as we climb higher in rank we are expected to become better leaders. In some career fields, as young officers we are able to lead a group of people and practice our leadership skills on a day-to-day basis. But other career fields don’t have the same opportunity to lead people day to day. This lack of experience can lead to some officers having much less experience when it comes to leadership. This is where professional military education comes into play.

PME for captains is Squadron Officer School. SOS is an eight-week course held at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The school is definitely focused on leadership and the growth of our future leaders. This is accomplished by discussing core topics such as Air Force doctrine and history. Yet the school goes much deeper than just discussing these topics. It places each student in situations where they have to lead groups, become better followers and offer their ideas to solve complex group problems.
PME, such as in-residence SOS, creates multiple challenges that aid young Air Force officers to become better leaders. This is why the opportunity to attend PME as military members can’t be overlooked, and we must continue to fight to be able to attend these courses.

The Air Force is trying to make opportunity to attend SOS in-residence available to all line officers. If those officers are unable to attend in residence then a correspondence course is offered. This sounds great until you realize that many officers and future leaders are not line officers such as health professions officers.

Starting in fiscal 2013, headquarters Air Force Personnel Center and headquarters U.S. Air Force/Surgeon General 1 announced that they were selecting 182 health professions officers. This announcement was a great leap forward for medical professionals eager to gain more leadership skills and attend a top-level course with their line counterparts. After attending SOS in-residence, I have learned so much in regard to how the Air Force functions and the way decisions are made, not to mention meeting some great friends and making lasting memories.

As a health professions officer, I highly recommend all medical professions eligible to attend SOS in-residence apply for this great opportunity to enhance their leadership skills and gain the valuable insight on how the Air Force is run. SOS commandant Col. Mark Czelusta regularly reminded us that the Chief of Staff of the Air Force in 2040 could be walking the hallways of SOS today.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Resource management — Doing more with less

Since I joined the Air Force in 1992, our manpower and resources have been gradually reduced with no obvious change to the mission we support. While this has been labeled “doing more with less,” I don’t believe we’re truly doing any more than we did when I entered the military 22 years ago. We seem...
 
 

Situational awareness

Throughout my career, the importance of situational awareness has been driven into my head. This became exceedingly clear to me when I landed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. It was March 17, 2003, about 48 hours until Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off. We were busy building tents, making bunkers and preparing to execute the mission. Doing...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

There are times in our lives which are marked by a flash of inspiration. Some coincidental event takes place that brings new insight or understanding. One such event happened for me this past fall at the funeral Mass of one of Luke’s longtime friends, Katie Gillen. Miss Katie served as our base librarian for many...
 

 
Kingdom_Hearts_II_(PS2)

Fly Over: ‘Kingdom Hearts II’ and ‘Coaching Bad′

For Play Station II: ‘Kingdom Hearts II’ “Kingdom Hearts II” was released in 2005 for the Play Station 2 gaming console. The game is the sequel to “Kingdom Hearts” but the third in the series published by Square Eni...
 
 

Don’t get ‘Promotion Remorse’

The day I closed on my first house, my realtor and I did a final walk through to ensure there were no last-minute issues that needed addressing. Since I was a first-time home buyer, I didn’t know what to look for, so I finished my walk-through in 20 minutes. My realtor insisted on staying to...
 
 

Keep military records in check

A common issue we see at the 56th Force Support Squadron Military Personnel Section is that our military customers wait until the last minute to check their records. This can become an issue that can cause hardship on the member when it comes to promotion boards, permanent changes of station, retirement and separation. One scenario...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin