TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
“Everybody in this room is a leader. Think of yourself as a leader of leaders, not as a leader of subordinates.”
These words of sentiment were shared to more than 120 students March 24 at the Paul W. Airey NCO Academy by U.S. Army Master Sgt. Eric Rassmussen.
This was the first time the NCO Academy held a joint military panel, which included senior enlisted leaders from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and Royal Canadian air force, but it will not be their last.
“The idea was to enhance what the curriculum does not have [at the academy] and that’s experience in joint environments,” said Senior Master Sgt. Rob Compton, Paul W. Airey NCO Academy director of education. “We also thought this would be a good touch to expand on what the Chief of Staff of the Air Force has said his number two priority is — ‘building joint leaders and teams.’”
The panel of four joint service members discussed career choices, answered student questions and provided detailed insight on joint environments, to include similarities and differences in developing Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen.
The students listened to joint leadership perspectives that provided NCOs from 37 different Air Force installations the chance to bring back the leadership insight to Airmen in their home units.
“The audience gained a developed understanding on the parallels and challenges facing each service branch and enlisted force,” said Chief Master Sgt. Darnell Burton, Airey NCO Academy commandant. “Many students stated that this panel was a highlight of their NCOA experience and plan to take this information back [to their home units] and try to have a joint panel at their base.”
They enabled students to connect their professional military education knowledge with rare joint leadership insight on areas like joint task forces, joint training, maritime warfare, and the evolution of joint warfare, and that is something students rarely get in class, Burton added.
“We love the way it went and was the first of many that we plan on having. We’ve opened Pandora’s box in a good way,” Compton said. “Now we are building relationships, not only with our sister services, but our coalition partners.”