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News > Military spouses tackle SOS Project X
 
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Lauren Lucky reaches out to Britney Dixon as they participate in the Project X course Sept. 19. Twelve spouses of Squadron Officer School students and faculty completed the team-building course. (courtesy photo)
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Military spouses tackle SOS Project X

Posted 10/5/2012   Updated 10/5/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Lt. Col. Matthew McCarty
Commander, 32nd Student Squadron


10/5/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Several spouses of officers in Squadron Officer School Class 12E gained a first-hand experience of SOS Sept. 19 at one of the most challenging tasks the students will face while at the school: Project X.

The 12 spouses, joined by Susan Czelusta, wife of Squadron Officer College Commander Col. Mark Czelusta, put their problem-solving and teambuilding skills to the test.

The challenge was designed to allow the spouses to gain a better appreciation of the types of activities their military members go through while at SOS and experience a physically challenging combined leadership and followership exercise.

"They jumped at the challenge," said Maj. Mike Hethcock, 32nd Student Squadron flight commander. "We traditionally use Project X with various community groups to showcase one of the best tools SOS has for evaluating leadership, team-building, problem-solving and physical fitness."

Project X has been a part of the SOS curriculum since the school began in the 1950s and remains one of the most challenging and rewarding events of the eight-week SOS course.

The spouses received the task briefing, endured the same limitations and time constraints as the students and participated in a post-task debrief to draw out the learning points.

"I gave them zero slack on the rules," said Capt. Jason Gentry, 32nd Student Squadron flight commander and task referee.

"Ultimately, the spouses walked away from Project X with a better understanding of how SOS develops leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and communication skills, and they were able to show off their own skills in front of their military spouse."

"I enjoyed our final challenge, which pushed us to communicate effectively and left me with a sense of accomplishment once we completed the task as a team," said Brooke Lehman, spouse of Capt. Todd Lehman, a combat support officer stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. "I was an important piece out of the larger whole."

"It's good to go through what they experience," said Mandy Chilson, spouse of Capt. Gregg Chilson, who is stationed as a contracting officer at Los Angeles AFB, Calif.

"I'm real proud of her," said Chilson, as he cheered his spouse on with their 5-month old daughter, Charlotte.

In keeping with the Air Force's commitment to care for Airmen and their families, SOS makes certain student events, such as guest speakers from the Commandant Lecture Series and field day activities open to spouses.



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