To help Airman Leadership School students grow as future leaders there is a program available to help immerse them into a career field outside their own to gain not only a different perspective, but to see how each unit lends a hand in completing the Air Force mission.
It’s called the ALS Unit Sponsorship program and was an idea sparked by Brig. Gen. Mike Rothstein, 56th Fighter Wing commander, and implemented by Master Sgt. Sheris Poisson, 56th Force Support Squadron ALS commandant.
“Toward the end of the five-week ALS course there’s a little bit of downtime, so when I heard of the program I thought it would be perfect to incorporate it at the end of week five,” Poisson said. “The intent of the program is for squadrons to sponsor an ALS class, highlight what they do in their squadron and show the students how they impact the Air Force.”
The program has been in effect since July and is on its third ALS class rotation. The current class visited the 607th Air Control Squadron Dec. 10.
“Our goal was to show the students what we do here, expose them to our mission, our school house and build on the ALS principal of teamwork,” said Master Sgt. Emery Branham, 607th ACS operations superintendant.
The students were split into teams of four and briefed on the scenario in which they would play.
“We introduced them to a scenario similar to the mission in Afghanistan,” Branham said. “We control all the flying assets in our area of responsibility to include reconnaissance, bombers, fighters, tankers and airlift. We are the command and control battle managers for the entire theater.”
Students also raised an antenna mast as well as listened to a real-life recording of an operator directing a pilot on a mission.
“It was cool to be able to do their job and experience what they experience sitting in the equipment room with the headset on and everything,” said Senior Airman Ana King, 56th Dental Squadron dental technician. “From participating in the scenario, I learned that communication is key, which also plays a role in every job since it’s important to be able to communicate with your coworkers.”
For Senior Airman John Dunlap, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron crew chief, the experience has given him a different perspective into what the 607th ACS does.
“This experience was really beneficial to me because I never had any clue how complicated it is to direct pilots beyond what the Airmen in air traffic control do,” Dunlap said. “Being a crew chief, I know a little more about what the pilot deals with in the air and how other jobs help get the mission done as well. My favorite part was simulating being the senior director and forwarding the information to the pilots.”
The next unit sponsor was chosen Dec. 12 by Lt. Col. Charles Jones, 607th ACS commander, during the ALS graduation ceremony.