The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School is an intense six-week course for senior airmen and staff sergeants to learn the basics of leadership. Luke Air Force Base first sergeants have a tradition of playing volleyball with the students at the end of the course to build comradery and interact with the students.
First sergeants dominated ALS students winning all four flight matches and the all-star match.
“The game with the students is more than just having fun or earning bragging rights,” said Sara Abel, 56th Operations Support Squadron first sergeant. “It’s an opportunity for first sergeants to see their Airmen after six weeks, since we don’t really get to see them during their course. It also provides students a chance to let loose prior to graduating and returning to work.”
Playing volleyball against first sergeants has been an ALS tradition for almost eight years.
“This tradition started long before I ever wore the diamond,” Abel said. “The reason volleyball was chosen was because it’s a game that requires teamwork and communication which are things the students learned about during their time in ALS. The reward is bragging rights and another tally mark on the game ball.”
Heading into the matchups, ALS students thought they were prepared for the game.
“Our plan was to set up good plays and communicate,” said Nick Liuzzi, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron combat controller. “The first sergeants were tough opponents but I feel we did our best and communicated effectively.”
ALS students lost to the first sergeants but after six weeks of schooling, it was a good break for the students.
“It wasn’t about winning or losing, it was about building a stronger bond on and off the court with fellow wingmen,” Liuzzi said. “Even though we lost, it was a very humbling experience to be able to spend time playing a sport with the first sergeants.”