SOUTHWEST ASIA --
A team of three instructors from the U.S. Air Force Senior NCO Academy visited Amman, Jordan, to provide the first-ever Senior NCO mobile education course here June 10-27.
The instructors partnered with Royal Jordanian Air Force translators to present the two week course to 30 RJAF senior enlisted.
“This was an awesome opportunity to share concepts of education to move our teams and our forces forward and to build better partnerships,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Kersey, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force - Levant command chief.
Although the course was condensed from the full five-week course held at Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex, Alabama, it included key skills including visionary and ethical leadership, cross cultural competence, and self-awareness.
“We hope the students here use the tools they’ve learned over the last couple of weeks and share with their subordinates,” Kersey said. “This is a great opportunity for us and them to grow and make a better, more forward thinking force. That’s what we need for the future.”
Chief Master Sgt. Saif Al-Dammin, the Chief Master Sgt. of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, envisioned a stronger, leadership-based RJAF enlisted force when he set the plan in motion to have the class taught in Jordan. This was after he himself attended the full course at Gunter Annex.
“I was invited by Chief Wright [Chief Master Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force] to attend the course in Alabama, and I know how important it is for Senior NCOs to go through this education,” Al-Dammin said. “Old ways won’t get you new results, applying the constants of innovation and bringing new ideas to the Air Force is a big driver for me. The context of the course is very strong for the goals of our Air Force.”
The course also provides followership, critical thinking, problem solving and team building tools, all of which empower Airmen and assist with NCO and officer relationships.
“Our officers in the U.S. empower their senior enlisted members precisely because we have education like this,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jason Key, SNCO Academy mobile course flight instructor. “These classes will help officers empower you if you show them you have these leadership skills. This is going to be a huge culture shift for them where their officers can increase their relationship in terms of trust. These courses will give the Senior NCOs tools like thinking rationally in terms of ideas, data, and not only bringing problems but solutions as they think outside the box.”
Improving the officer NCO dynamic was a deciding factor for Al-Dammin, who convinced his leadership to hold the course.
“We can fill the gap between our officers and Senior NCOs with required knowledge from this course,” Al-Dammin said. “When NCOs are equipped with the rules and responsibilities required of them and know their expected leadership role, they can communicate with their officers and build trust and confidence in their capability to lead and assume higher leadership responsibilities.”
Al-Dammin spoke with the RJAF students himself before the classes started to ensure they had a high level of motivation and the desire to take this knowledge back to their work centers.
“Hopefully this kind of training will stay available to us since it improves our work strategy while widening our vision for leading, adapting and changing, all with the main goal of making us great leaders,” said RJAF Warrant Officer 1st Class ( U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant equivalent) Mostafa Otoum, course student.
As the class progressed, the students and instructors became more comfortable with one another, and even met occasionally for dinner.
“I enjoy the Jordanian Airmen educating us on their language and culture,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Teresa Ray, SNCO Academy mobile course flight instructor. “I love how excited they are to share so many aspects of their culture and teach us words and phrases, share food and drinks, and tell us about their customs and traditions.”
This time spent was important not only to the students and instructors, but also to the leaders in higher headquarters.
“The most profitable investment we can make in others is our time,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Drinkard, command chief for the U.S. Air Forces Central Command. “Investing in human capital is fundamental to building leaders. A professionalized and empowered NCO Corps is our coalition’s greatest competitive advantage over our common adversaries.”
This partner-building instruction came to a close with the students dressed in Class B uniforms, equivalent to U.S. Air Force dress blues, gathered together to accept their graduation certificates.
“I’m sad to say goodbye to the instructors,” said RJAF Warrant Officer 1st Class Mansour Al Hussan, course student. “They are more like family to me as they improved me as a person. I have more confidence to go to my chief and commander with solutions. What they taught us will push the limit of what we can become.”