MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Air University’s Barnes Center for Enlisted Education graduated Noncommissioned Officer Academy “mega” class 19 Alpha One on Dec. 20, 2018, showcasing total force coordination and support in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.
In the wake of the hurricane, the Air Force’s educational and professional development of NCOs was going to be severely impacted, according to Col. James Dryjanski, Barnes Center commander. Through coordination across multiple installations and institutions, students scheduled to attend class at Tyndall Air Force Base’s Airey NCOA were still able to get their professional military education experience.
The Barnes Center’s Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy on Gunter Annex hosted two classes combined.
“It was a great class,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Keys, SNCOA instructor. “I think one of the things we brought to the table, which you’re not going to get at any other NCO academy, is that in addition to going through the NCOA curriculum we were able to sprinkle in some of that senior NCO perspective. For these guys to be able to have that strategic-level perspective on any of the topics, it was incredibly value added.”
According to Keys, NCOA classes are commonly taught by a peer who may not even have the same amount or even less experience in the Air Force as the students. For them to be able to learn from the SNCOA instructors, who each usually have around 15 to 20 years of Air Force experience, made for an invaluable PME opportunity.
In order to properly train this amount of students, the SNCOA brought in five NCOA instructors from various schools around the Air Force to assist with the teaching of the curriculum.
“We are trained up on the SNCOA curriculum, which is just different than the NCOA curriculum,” Keys said. “They would come here and we would meet with them every day and would really help us through any road bumps we would come across and clarify anything we would see in the lesson plan. I think they were instrumental in helping us out. For me, it was really great to see that, as a PME community, we were able to band together and help these students out.”
At the current moment, plans for Tyndall to once again receive these students is uncertain. AU’s SNCOA has said that they are prepared to host NCOA students again if necessary.