For a six week period spanning August and September 2019, I was fortunate enough to be afforded the opportunity to attend the United States Air Force (USAF), Non-Commissioned Officer Academy (NCOA), conducted by the Elmendorf Professional Military Education (PME) Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska.
Although very challenging, especially for a foreign military member, I found this course provided great new insights and perspectives into how the USAF operates. Insights into the initiatives put forward by the senior leadership of the USAF and how I fit into the role as a leader, and perspectives that have allowed me to better understand the “why” behind some decisions made around my office and the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron. This knowledge will help me throughout my RCAF career working alongside our USAF brethren.
The NCOA’s focus on leadership principles and concepts forced me to self-reflect and ask “Am I the effective leader the RCAF and USAF needs me to be?” I learned a great deal about myself, and how I could improve on certain aspects of being both a leader and a follower. These lessons will allow me to better empower the team around me both up and down the chain of command.
As many of you know, in career courses similar to this, the peer group can make or break the experience, and I would have to say this was one of the best opportunities I’ve been given throughout my career. The entire school house, both students and staff, were very professional and friendly, both in welcoming their first foreign military member ever at the Elmendorf PME Center, and in helping the lone Canadian sort through the USAF initiatives and policies that were, until the course, unknown to me.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my leadership teams at the Canadian Detachment JBER, the 3 Wing Operational Support Squadron, along with the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron, for this amazing opportunity. Additionally, I’d like to highlight the contribution and support of the 11AF CMSgt, CMSgt Wolfe, and the Commandant of the Elmendorf PME Center, CMSgt Venning for taking a chance on this Canadian Sergeant and going out of their way to be inclusive, and most especially for the experience I will cherish for the rest of my career.