KMC Soldiers, Airmen teach in cadet leadership course

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Trevor Calvert
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A junior reserve officers training corps cadet leadership course, consisting of highschool students from Lakenheath, Spangdahlem, Ramstein and Kaiserslautern high schools, took place around the Kaiserslautern Military Community, June 9-15, 2024.

This annual week-long Air Force JROTC sponsored cadet leadership course teaches cadets about leadership by giving them opportunities to lead their peers, learn from experienced leaders around the KMC and put them in tough positions where they have to learn to come up with a solution.

“Our mission of JROTC is to develop citizens of character and we do that in a variety of ways, whether it’s platform instruction about leadership or aerospace science, with no obligation to join the military,” said William Conley, U.S. Air Force JROTC senior aerospace science instructor. “The skills we teach these students and cadets are applicable no matter what path they ultimately choose.”

Conley realized that the AFJROTC program needed the camaraderie and different experiences from other bases around Europe, so the cadets can learn from other cadets and see what works for different scenarios. The cadet leadership course gives JROTC leaders time to fine tune what they want to see from their cadets and how they can go forward.

“The programs are cadet led, the instructors are there for oversight, but the program and the experience is for the cadets,” said Conley. “We teach them that over the week and it really shows during the school year, when we see the cadets teaching each other, without our input.”

The course makes every day a different experience, electing new cadets to be leaders each day. This style of learning pushes the cadets to get out of their comfort zone and be involved.

“I’ve never been put into a position like this where I’m leading and guiding other cadets,” said Ana Alejandro Diez, Alconbury AB AFJROTC cadet. “Being put in this position made me realize every person is different and they have their own way of doing things. As a leader, if you're going to be in charge of a big group, you will need to communicate to find out what works for you.”

Completing the mission with excellence and integrity is a daily task in the Air Force that no single Airman can accomplish. Each member's dedication and teamwork is essential to success.

“In the military, any career field you’re in will work as a team that is working towards one goal, and you want that goal to be met and exceeded,” said Diez. “Being open to criticism and communicating with others lets us complete our goals we have set for us and also helps us find new goals or tasks to accomplish.”

The AFJROTC cadet leadership course sharpens leadership skills and fosters a sense of community among cadets, preparing them for future challenges. By integrating lessons from different bases around the KMC, the program ensures that values of excellence and integrity are ingrained in each participant, reflecting the core principles of the Air Force.