Chief reflects on first Foundations IOC

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Tiffany Jackson-Foster
  • Barnes Center for Enlisted Education

On Nov. 16, 2023, we celebrated a momentous achievement, as 31 newly graduated Airmen, guided by six exceptional instructors, took the stage. Their accomplishments marked the successful completion of 32 hours of instruction for the inaugural initial operational capability of the Junior Enlisted Foundations 300 course.

The Barnes Center for Enlisted Education command team entrusted me with the leadership of this significant initiative, close to the heart of CMSAF #19, and aimed at reshaping how we educate Airmen today and for tomorrow.

Over the past four months, I had the privilege of leading a team of dedicated professionals who shared a common passion for education. Despite the challenges and the absence of additional time (a process that would typically take one to two years), they never wavered. We spent countless hours in research, curriculum development, editing and refinement. Our journey was not only about creating course material, it was also about understanding the current concepts and depth of Enlisted Professional Military Education to ensure a seamless transition through the Enlisted Airmanship Continuum, starting with Junior Enlisted Foundations 300, followed by Foundations 500 and 700.

As I observed the course, I felt a sense of pride as our instructors eloquently discussed topics like digital literacy, team dynamics, followership within leadership and the warrior mindset. The Airmen absorbed this knowledge with enthusiasm and ease.

I also had the privilege of engaging with the students. At the end of each day, I would pull 1 or 2 Airmen aside and ask them what impacted them the most. Their responses were inspiring:

- Senior Airman Joseph Ortiz and Airman 1st Class Leanna Ortiz highlighted the importance of setting SMART goals for their upcoming deployment, pushing each other to be better, demonstrating the power of teamwork and mutual support.

- Senior Airman Eric Heinemann found value in learning the documents the Tongue and Quill governs.

- Airman 1st Class Jack Larocque emphasized the interconnectedness of different Air Force Specialty Codes in fueling the Air Force mission.

- Senior Airman Hera Nogueras and Airman 1st Class Kasualla underscored the importance of emotional intelligence in both followership and leadership.

- Airman 1st Class Alexandar Guess recognized the significance of mission command and our roles as Airmen.

Having completed one class, our journey has only just begun. There is still more work to be done, and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Foundations curriculum and implementation crew, the mobile training teams and our development advisors. You are all part of this cutting-edge group of professionals, and I am honored to work alongside you.