U.S. Army Specialist Israel Chavez, Gray Eagle Company mechanic, practices negotiation tactics during Airman Leadership School at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 13, 2019. ALS is a five week-long Air Force professional military education course designed to develop junior enlisted service members into effective supervisors, leaders and NCOs. It is the first PME course that enlisted Airmen encounter during their Air Force career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Mendez)
U.S. Army Specialist Israel Chavez, Gray Eagle Company mechanic, practices negotiation tactics during Airman Leadership School at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Dec. 13, 2019. ALS is a five week-long Air Force professional military education course designed to develop junior enlisted service members into effective supervisors, leaders and NCOs. It is the first PME course that enlisted Airmen encounter during their Air Force career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Mendez)

Wolf Pack Airmen, Soldiers tackle ALS

by Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Mendez
Kunsan Air Base

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- For the first time in Kunsan history, Airmen and Soldiers came together to learn and tackle the obstacles associated with becoming a supervisor and NCO during Airman Leadership School, Nov. 14 - Dec. 19.

ALS is a five week-long Air Force professional military education course designed to develop junior enlisted service members into effective supervisors, leaders and NCOs. It is the first PME course that enlisted Airmen encounter during their Air Force career.

The invitation to join the Air Force PME course was recently extended to the U.S. Army Gray Eagle Company located at Kunsan. U.S. Army Specialist Israel Chavez, Gray Eagle Company mechanic, was selected to attend the course with 30 Airmen from the 8th Fighter Wing.

“It has been an amazing experience working and learning alongside the Air Force,” said Chavez. “While attending ALS, I have been able to learn more about working alongside other services and becoming a better leader, listener and communicator. ALS has given me another perspective, ensuring I’m a more well-rounded NCO, supervisor and Soldier.”

In order to promote, Soldiers must attend an Army PME course known as the Basic Leadership Course, offered at Camp Humphreys. Although ALS does not satisfy this Army requirement, the coursework and lessons throughout ALS help Soldiers, and Airmen, gain hands-on experience with working in a joint environment and a better understanding of standards and discipline across the Department of Defense.

“ALS is a great opportunity to emphasize the interoperability between the Armed Forces,” said U.S. Army First Sergeant Dexter Nevels, Gray Eagle Company first sergeant. “Training and learning together is important to the overall effectiveness of the military.”

The program curriculum covers an array of topics including leadership, human resources, communication and profession of arms. The new curriculum also covers the basics of joint doctrine and being a joint warfighter.

“The Air Force and Army have very different mentalities, which is necessary due to the very diverse mission sets we have,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Keith Bullard, 51st Force Support Squadron ALS instructor. “Through joint PME, these Soldiers are able to gain a different perspective and we are also able to learn from their experiences. There is always an opportunity to learn more and ALS is the perfect environment to do so.”

ALS takes place at Kunsan approximately two times a year. The ALS staff, including the instructors and commandant, are a part of the 51st FSS, stationed at Osan Air Base. For Airmen at Kunsan, ALS is time away from their units to focus on building their leadership and supervisory skills.

“Kunsan is such a small community, we should take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about one another, gain new insights and build relationships. I hope we continue to synchronize our mission and learn alongside of each other,” said Nevels. “At the end of the day, all services exist to protect and serve and by continuing to work together, we will be better equipped to accomplish our goals.”

ALS Class 20-A graduated Dec. 19, at the Loring Club, surrounded by leadership, supervisors and friends. Senior Airman Forrest Ramirez from the 8th Medical Operations Squadron received the Academic Achievement Award and was named a Distinguished Graduate. Senior Airman Jonathan Catalano from the 8th Maintenance Squadron received the Commandant Award. Senior Airman Spencer Kujawa from the 8th Security Forces Squadron was also named a Distinguished Graduate.

Senior Airman Byron Stipe from the 8th Maintenance Squadron was named the Kunsan ALS Class 20-A John L. Levitow Award winner.

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