Mentor Mentality: Airman readies Airmen
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea – Training and operational readiness are just part of the everyday routine in the U.S. Air Force, which depends on mentors and trainers to provide the skills and mentality for tasks to become natural for American Airmen.
For Staff Sgt. Michael Puckett, 6th Intelligence Squadron NCOIC of education and training in his new career field, he’s determined to provide unmatched training to his unit as he’s received as a Security Forces defender.
“I’ve always loved teaching and mentoring people, but as a cop, I really enjoyed the feeling of helping someone who might have been having a terrible day,” said Puckett. “But if I was positive enough and started to get to know that person when they come through the gate, it lifts people’s spirits.”
As a unit training manager, Puckett is tasked with evaluating education and training programs, as well as creating and altering programs to make sure that the Airmen are receiving proper training and are always up to speed.
“I love that feeling – it’s that light bulb moment where it all clicks.” Puckett said. “I am a big believer in the waterfall effect. You help one person, then it flows down to two or three, then to another five all because you did your job right.”
Perfecting his craft and taking the time to ensure every detail in his lesson is nearly perfect gives Puckett a sense of achievement when he see students grasp and maintain the lesson.
“I practice the lesson over and over, work on my timing, pitch and tone of my voice,” Puckett said. “A lot of times I will walk around my apartment, setting it up as the classroom I’m teaching in. You can tell the lesson is working when people are engaged, asking questions, and then applying those lessons to their day-to-day lives.”
Each day in the classroom has been an opportunity for Puckett to create relationships with Airmen to enhance their personal and professional lives.
“I truly believe [Unit Training Managers] can have the biggest hand in establishing a culture of mentorship,” Puckett said. “Since we see all the new people and have access to everyone, we can do so much to help if we take that extra time to better ourselves. We are all re-trainees, which can really help provide firsthand experience of what it did for us personally and professionally.”
Puckett’s goal is to be able to equip Airmen with valuable training and leadership, which he hopes to be remembered as the person who truly cared.
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