The U.S. Air Force Warfare Center concluded its first Tech. Sergeant Week/Warrior Stripe Program Aug. 17 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
The two-week course brought together 40 Warfare Center NCOs to provide an avenue for them to develop as military and professional leaders.
“The goal is for the folks that leave the course to see it as something different, something that changed them and made them think about things a little differently,” said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Hoffman, USAFWC command chief.
The students were pulled from the Warfare Center and its supporting units, from crew chiefs and civil engineers to medics and communications.
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Wolfrum, Thunderbirds plans and scheduling NCO in charge, was one of the students. He said that he had been looking forward to the course for a while and it exceeded his expectations.
“This two-week course was very beneficial because not only did I get to talk to other maintainers outside of the Thunderbirds, but I also got to talk to Airmen from a lot of different career fields from throughout the Air Force,” said Wolfrum. “That was really enlightening for me because I was able to see an even bigger picture of what not only the USAFWC is doing, but what the Air Force is doing as a whole.”
The first week focused on military development and personal and professional development.
“I felt like the curriculum was planned very well — almost to a tee,” said Wolfrum. “There were things I saw that were immediately beneficial like the personality test on the second day because it opened us up to each other and taught us how to meditate with those who have different personality traits. Just the fact that the course helped me with my feedback and leadership skills, I know that I’ll be able to go to people in a lot of different career fields and relate to them a little bit better.”
Hoffman said the course focused on the National Defense Strategy and the big picture of why Airmen are here and why they do what they do. It also entails an in-depth look at who they are and how they deal with different learning styles to give them a greater understanding of how to work together as a team.
Only 10 of those 40 students moved on to the second week, when they traveled to units around the base to see everything from fighter jets to military working dogs. Most of what the students saw they would never experience without the course.
“The second week was great because we actually got to dive into what the Warfare Center does,” said Wolfrum. “We got to learn about every single wing and what they’re doing for the Air Force. I got to take a very in-depth look at Red Flag and the F-35; being an F-16 guy, it was really cool to see what the F-35 can do compared to the F-16.”
Hoffman said the week specifically focused on technical sergeants, because there are not many development courses available for them once that rank is achieved.
“Hopefully this course will inspire somebody, or a good portion of these folks, to go and be a better NCO,” said Hoffman. “This isn’t about adding another level of professional military education like NCO Academy. It’s about sharing knowledge that we, as senior NCOs, learned later in our careers that we wish we would have known as tech. sergeants.”
Wolfrum and Hoffman agreed that technical sergeants have a lot of roles and responsibilities and that this course could help develop them further as better NCOs.
“As a young Airman, when I was coming up in the ranks, I saw tech. sergeants as basically the middlemen between everybody,” said Wolfrum. “They could go to the senior NCOs and provide feedback and ideas while performing tasks and then continue to mentor their Airmen. It’s one of the most influential ranks in the Air Force.”