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SNCO Academy seeks instructors

Posted 9/10/2010   Updated 9/10/2010 Email story   Print story


by Jessica Casserly
Air University Public Affairs

9/10/2010 - MAXWELL-GUNTER AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy is always looking for qualified Senior NCOs to teach its courses, but a recent increase in flight room size is providing additional motivation to put more instructors behind the podium, said Chief Master Sgt. Alexander Perry, commandant of the AFSNCOA.

"We are looking to have 37 instructors behind the podium in the future to reduce the student-to-teacher ratio," Chief Perry said.

Chief Master Sgt. Jose Alfaro, chief of the SNCOA Programs Division, said the academy looks for certain qualities when selecting SNCO instructors.

"Ultimately, we are looking for someone who has a willingness and a desire to teach," he said. "We can't train for the desire, but we can work them through everything else. For example, if they aren't comfortable speaking, we can get them through that."

Chief Perry said there are other qualities that indicate an individual is a good candidate.

"We are also looking for the experience that an individual can bring to the academy, whether that is personal or professional," the commandant said. This can include fitness abilities, career accomplishments and educational degrees.

The four-year, special duty assignment has many benefits.

"One of the best things about working at the SNCOA is that you grow as a leader and you get to be around a great group of people," said Chief Perry.

Along with Air Force instructors, the SNCOA also has instructors from the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and allied nations and will soon add a Marine Corps instructor.
"Instructing at the AFSNCOA is very humbling," said Senior Master Sgt. Kathi Bohannon, an instructor at the SNCOA. "Every day I'm surrounded by the best SNCOs from across the Air Force, sister services and international military community."

Chief Alfaro said instructors can expect to "supervise and mentor more than 70 SNCOs and 60 company grade officers from across the Department of Defense and allied nations on joint leadership strategies" and "deliver at least 300 hours of operational and strategic level curriculum in development of 2,200 master sergeants and 700 chief master sergeants a year." Instructors also "achieve CSAF-directed Combined Ops Air and Space Basic Course goals; empowering 2,800 lieutenants a year."

According to the instructor recruiting document on the AFSNCOA portal, applicants must be a master sergeant, senior master sergeant select or senior master sergeant to apply for the position and have attended the academy in-residence. However, "Master sergeants who have not completed the academy in-residence may be offered the opportunity to apply if they are exceptionally well qualified for the job."

"An applicant must supply a letter of recommendation from their commander and, if they have not yet attended the SNCOA in-residence, they must also supply a letter of recommendation from their command chief," Chief Alfaro said. "We also want them to have their CCAF degree or be close to completing it."

One of the most important things in the application package is a Senior NCO's last five enlisted performance reports, Chief Alfaro said. "These are big qualifiers for the selection process," he said. "We also look at what kind of leadership experience they have had, and we require a photo to insure that the individual is projecting the military image."

After an individual has submitted their application, Chief Alfaro reviews it before sending it up to Chief Perry for a final decision.

Senior Master Sgt. Mark Hurst, an instructor at the SNCOA, said he would encourage his fellow Senior NCOs to consider applying for an instructor position.

"It is an opportunity to develop today's senior enlisted leaders from across the DOD and our coalition partners and at the same time develop your leadership ability," he said.

Sergeant Bohannon agrees.

"It is by far the most rewarding position I've held. Not only am I surrounded by high-quality instructors, I'm also given the opportunity to shape SNCOs and CGOs, the immediate and intermediate future of the force."

Chief Ray, who was an instructor before moving into his current position as vice commandant of the AFSNCOA, said, "The most rewarding thing for me is when you know that you got through to a student. Even if it isn't until after they've gone back (to their duty station) and they send you an e-mail. It's rewarding knowing the lessons they learned here helped them professionally or personally."

Senior NCOs interested in learning more about SNCOA instructor positions can visit the AFSNCOA portal page and view the information folder. Applications are available through the Assignment Management System-EQUAL Plus site. Contact Chief Alfaro at for more information.

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