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Leadership program graduates inaugural class

Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, presents a certificate to 2nd Lt. Joseph Fraser, 23d Communications Squadron officer in charge of plans and programs, during the 2017 Emerge Moody, Leadership Moody graduation ceremony, June 23, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Approximately 30 distinguished Airmen accepted honors during the event. During the nine-month program, Emerge Moody students broadened their view of how they fit into the overall Moody and larger Air Force mission, while Leadership Moody students learned local community agencies' best practices and challenges of leaders from non-military perspectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash)

Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, presents a certificate to 2nd Lt. Joseph Fraser, 23d Communications Squadron officer in charge of plans and programs, during the 2017 Emerge Moody, Leadership Moody graduation ceremony, June 23, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Approximately 30 distinguished Airmen accepted honors during the event. During the nine-month program, Emerge Moody students broadened their view of how they fit into the overall Moody and larger Air Force mission, while Leadership Moody students learned local community agencies' best practices and challenges of leaders from non-military perspectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash)

Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, commends the students of the 2017 Emerge Moody, Leadership Moody classes during a graduation ceremony, June 23, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Kunkel encouraged the graduates to pay it forward and make their experience worth more by passing their newly gained skills to units to invest in themselves and others. During the nine-month program, Emerge Moody students broadened their view of how they fit into the overall Moody and larger Air Force mission, while Leadership Moody students learned local community agencies' best practices and challenges of leaders from non-military perspectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash)

Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, commends the students of the 2017 Emerge Moody, Leadership Moody classes during a graduation ceremony, June 23, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Kunkel encouraged the graduates to pay it forward and make their experience worth more by passing their newly gained skills to units to invest in themselves and others. During the nine-month program, Emerge Moody students broadened their view of how they fit into the overall Moody and larger Air Force mission, while Leadership Moody students learned local community agencies' best practices and challenges of leaders from non-military perspectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash)

Moody Airmen applaud a video montage during the 2017 Emerge Moody, Leadership Moody graduation ceremony, June 23, 2017 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Approximately 30 distinguished Airmen accepted honors during the nine-month program, Emerge Moody students broadened their view of how they fit into the overall Moody and larger Air Force mission, while Leadership students learned local community agencies' best practices and challenges of leaders from non-military perspectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash)

Moody Airmen applaud a video montage during the 2017 Emerge Moody, Leadership Moody graduation ceremony, June 23, 2017 at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Approximately 30 distinguished Airmen accepted honors during the nine-month program, Emerge Moody students broadened their view of how they fit into the overall Moody and larger Air Force mission, while Leadership students learned local community agencies' best practices and challenges of leaders from non-military perspectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash)

Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, renders a salute to Lt. Col. Cynthia Kearley, 23d Wing Staff Judge Advocate and Leadership Moody, Emerge Moody cadre member, for an exceptional job during Moody’s first 2017 Emerge Moody, Leadership Moody  installment at a graduation ceremony, June 23, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Kearley was coined for her efforts in spearheading the programs which were designed to enhance  participant’s Air Force networks and their continued growth as Air Force leaders throughout their career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash)

Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, renders a salute to Lt. Col. Cynthia Kearley, 23d Wing Staff Judge Advocate and Leadership Moody, Emerge Moody cadre member, for an exceptional job during Moody’s first 2017 Emerge Moody, Leadership Moody installment at a graduation ceremony, June 23, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Kearley was coined for her efforts in spearheading the programs which were designed to enhance participant’s Air Force networks and their continued growth as Air Force leaders throughout their career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Greg Nash)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Approximately 30 distinguished Airmen accepted honors during Moody’s first joint inaugural Emerge Moody and Leadership Moody graduation ceremony June 23.

Although this wasn’t a typical commencement with graduates throwing their decorated caps signifying their graduation from the nine-month program, the excitement still filled Heritage Hall as the participants celebrated, reflected, and paid tribute to friends and mentors.

“Graduating Emerge Moody has made me a more relevant and conscious leader and Airman,” said 2nd Lt. Joseph Fraser, 23rd Communications Squadron officer in charge of plans and programs. “Prior to the course, especially being prior enlisted, there are tendencies to “think” we know most of [the mission]. However, this program has made me realize that is not the case at all.

“There were so many takeaways to help me better understand the different mission sets from a new perspective and dynamic,” Fraser added. “I am now able to better advocate what we do from a support role to ensure the big picture mission.”

While students like Fraser experienced Emerge Moody and its designed concept to broaden their view of how they fit into the overall Moody and larger Air Force mission, the Leadership Moody students learned local community agencies’ best practices and challenges of leaders from non-military perspectives.

For Lt. Col. Cynthia Kearley, 23rd Wing Staff Judge Advocate and Leadership Moody, Emerge Moody cadre member, seeing the program’s goals come to fruition was very rewarding.

“We took a risk by starting a brand new program designed to create more informed leaders, who can take what they learned about the base missions and the local area’s resources to help Airmen and their families, and it worked,” Kearley said.

“Thanks to the support of base and community leaders, as well as the Airmen that took the time to engage with the class and share what they do, several graduates have commented that this program was one of their best Air Force experiences,” Kearley added.

During their journey, the students received in-depth exposure to the combat rescue, base defense, and mission support units which entailed activities such as launching aircraft and talking with civic leaders.

To symbolize the classes’ completion, the students walked the stage to be recognized. However, Kearley hopes the participants took home much more than a certificate.

“With the program’s long term benefits the graduates should share their insights with the teams they lead,” Kearley said. “An Emerge Moody graduate may inspire a co-worker by relaying an incredible aspect of the Moody mission that they witnessed in the program, while a Leadership Moody graduate may approach a problem with an idea that they got from a community leader or a fellow class member.

 “These classes were made up of leaders from all different Air Force career fields and you could tell there was a bond within the classes,” Kearley added. “This program enhanced their Air Force network and if they stay in touch, they will continue to help each other grow as Air Force leaders throughout their career.”

As the graduates showed off their certificates as the first proud alumni, Col. Thomas Kunkel, 23d Wing commander, echoed the same message about continuously growing.

“This is part two of a long phase, your work doesn’t stop here,” Kunkel said. “Pay it forward and make your experience worth more by passing your newly gained skills to your units so you can invest in yourselves and others. Being a leader isn’t easy and it makes you vulnerable. But vulnerability is a challenge to get you out of your comfort zone and make others better every day.

“You all have accomplished that and I expect to you continue to be great leaders to mentor the next class and impact the Air Force across the four corners of the globe,” Kunkel added.