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Course teaches Airmen how to be chiefs

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chance C. Babin
  • Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs
It takes years of training to become a chief master sergeant, the ultimate achievement for an enlisted Airman.

In addition to this preparation, Air Force Reserve Command conducts a Chief's Orientation Course at the AFRC Professional Development Center to help people succeed and to make the process less stressful.

"We know our chiefs are ready for the responsibility," said Chief Master Sgt. Troy McIntosh, AFRC command chief. "We just want them to be armed for success.

"This course will give the tools they need to succeed," he said. "In an ever changing operational environment, we need all the tools in our tool kit we can get."

The class is three and a half days. The first class was held here July 2006.

The class became a requirement in January for anyone sitting in a chief's authorization. People must complete it before they can pin on chief.

In addition, the Regular Air Force conducts the Chief Leadership Course at Maxwell AFB, Ala., which will count toward the requirement.

"The major benefit of this course is to give newly selected chiefs an overview of major functional areas in the command," said Chief Master Sgt. Joey Flateau, chief of the force management branch in the AFRC directorate of manpower and personnel.

Chief Flateau is familiar with the course because he recently served as a class mentor recently. However, because the course is relatively new, he didn't have the opportunity to attend it but wishes he did.

"It would have helped because there's a lot of good information that help you answer the tough questions that come up and lets you know who to contact to help answer them," Chief Flateau said.
While chiefs have learned the trade before this course, the crux of this program is to give students a view from the command level, allowing them to see the big picture to have them prepared for whatever they may encounter on the job.

"We teach them what their role is as a chief master sergeant and what the command expects of them," said Senior Master Sgt. Sandy Kitchens, AFRC program manager senior enlisted programs. "We do a strategic thinking and planning activity and also give tools to help them in leadership and management roles."

The students also have a chance to meet functional managers from various career fields, giving them insight on how to deal with issues on the command level.

"It gave me the tools and resources to address issues that I wouldn't have been able to do before," said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Schubert, a recent graduate of the course from the 94th Civil Engineer Squadron, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. "It's a great course for all the chiefs to take. It gave us the big picture of what chiefs need to be doing in the Air Force to meet the priorities of (Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force chief of staff)."

While the classroom instruction is informative and helpful to students, a big part of the course is the chance for a group of future chiefs from throughout the command to meet, network and share ideas.

"I learned a lot. It was a good experience to network and meet future chiefs," said Senior Master Sgt. James Snelgrove, 315th Security Forces Squadron, Charleston AFB, S.C. "I was able to gain new ideas that I can take back to my unit and share with other senior NCOs to help with their leadership role."

AFRC conducts its Chief's Orientation Course about six times a year with a quota of 20 students per class. The CLC at Maxwell has two course dates per year.

People interested in attending either course should contact their wing training office or wing command chief as class quotas are controlled by the numbered air force command chiefs. (Air Force Reserve Command News Service)