86th AW hosts 1st Flight Leadership Course on Ramstein

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kristof J. Rixmann
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 86th Airlift Wing hosted the first local Flight Leadership Course to guide current and future leaders on overcoming difficult situations, improving management skills and becoming a better leader on Ramstein Air Base, Germany from April 23 to 25, 2019.

The flight leadership course was open to officers and enlisted, some hailing from Ramstein’s geographically separated units stationed throughout Europe.

U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph Wenckus, 86th Airlift Wing vice commander, spoke about the flight leadership course, its students, and the benefit the course provides the students.

“These are our future leaders,” said Wenckus. “These are the folks starting at flight leadership but have the potential to move up to squadron leadership, group leadership, or even wing leadership. So, professionally developing them into this role and exposing them to a whole host of not only issues but agencies that can support them in their job, gives them tools to put in their toolkit and ultimately make them more prepared for their next step in leadership.”

One such future leader is U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jeffrey Halili, 86th Security Forces Squadron Raven team member. Halili recently received news he was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School and upon graduation will don the rank of second lieutenant In light of this news, Halili sought mentorship, knowledge and wisdom to propel his new career as an officer forward.

“The flight leadership course was eye-opening,” said Halili. “I’m very thankful to my squadron commander and my chief for giving me this opportunity to just see the other side. I’ve been on the junior enlisted side and I see how things happen. To now flip the coin and see why things happen is immensely valuable.”

Attendees sat together throughout the course in a sort of classroom environment without breaking into small group discussions. This structure, along with officers and enlisted both being in attendance, allowed for more interesting conversations and debates that otherwise may not have occurred, said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ernesto Rendon, 86th Airlift Wing command chief.

“I’m thankful to the team that organized this event because they insisted on keeping the group together throughout the entirety of the event,” said Rendon. “Either as a flight chief, a civilian, or otherwise, you may not know what questions need to be asked. I saw value in keeping the group together by hearing how people view things differently. There were strong opinions voiced and challenging discussions presented. I think this might not have happened in small group discussion.”

One organizer of the flight leadership course, U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jennifer Cutler, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron section commander, would strongly recommend this course to anyone looking to improve their leadership skills.

“I would recommend this course to anyone. We had technical sergeants filling master sergeant and even senior master sergeant billets. You can’t tell how much of a leadership capacity someone is in just by looking at their rank. That’s why I really recommend this course for the senior NCOs. Company grade officers don’t know what they don’t know and often rely on the senior NCOs for guidance. With this course we wanted to provide a broad range of leadership topics so senior NCOs realize how they may better mentor the CGOs.

In closing, Wenckus looked forward to seeing the results of this course materialize.

“There’s a lot of theory involved with this course and I’m interested to see how they use this information once they get into the practice of being a flight leader.”