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The next leaders of the Air Force

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

Airman Leadership School is a program designed to teach Airmen the principles of leadership and prepare them to become supervisors of other Airmen in the future.

There are approximately six to eight ALS classes held each year with 48 to 60 students in each class. The students are then divided into three separate flights until the end of the course.

There are four main lessons Airmen are taught during the course: professional Airmen, supervisor of Airmen, supervisory communicator and expeditionary Airmen.

These sections teach Airmen drill, ceremony and retreat procedures, team leadership skills, how to perform tasks that involve both verbal and written communication, and the rules of engagement when deployed.

Throughout the six week course, Airmen go through peer assessments, enlisted performance reports, problem solving and team building exercises in order to strengthen their bonds with one another as well as their leadership capabilities.

Senior Master Sgt. Charesse Craig, the ALS commandant assigned to the 5th Force Support Squadron, is one of the five instructors who taught the graduated class 16-F.

Craig has been the commandant for a year now and she said there is always something special about being able to mentor younger Airmen and guide them to become better leaders.

“I want to make them better and make sure that the Air Force is taken care of when my generation is gone, which is why when this opportunity came up at Minot, I jumped at it,” said Craig.

Craig, who is very passionate about leadership, said she is confident that these Airmen will be successful leaders when they go back to their units.

“They are going to go back to their jobs, [to] be good leaders and change things that may not be going well,” said Craig. “It’s just good to see them graduate and move on and I know they’re going to do great things in the future.”

 On Sept. 29, 2016, the ALS class 16-F  finally graduated from the course.

Senior Airmen Kerron Henry, a response force member with the 791st Missile Security Forces Squadron, is one of the 48 graduates. He said this course was challenging, but also very rewarding because of the positive effect it had on him.

“It definitely changed me for the better,” said Henry. “Not only the lesson plans, but also the time management training, networking and creating new relationships. It has all been a huge positive experience for me.”

Henry said he now feels a sense of pride after going through the ALS course.

“When the time comes where I have to be a supervisor for another Airman, I’m confident that I know all the guidelines of how to be a great leader and help that troop progress in their career,” said Henry.

Staff Sgt. Symphony Leyk, a professional military education instructor with the 5th Force Support Squadron, is another of the five ALS instructors who have taught the ALS Airmen how to become better leaders.

Leyk said her favorite part about mentoring Airmen in this course is witnessing the significant effect ALS has on them.

“The best part about being an instructor is seeing the impact the course has on the students, said Leyk. “Graduation is like the final piece where they are ready and prepared and you get to see that transformation from where they started to where they are now.”

Leyk also noted how her experience as an ALS instructor has been amazing because being a part of the journey of future leaders is a reward in and of itself.

”There’s definitely something special about just being a memory to the next leaders of the Air Force,” said Leyk.  “Knowing that I’m invested in these students who have so much potential is really unique and inspiring.”

Like Leyk, Craig also considers it rewarding to be able to help guide the ALS students on the path of success and she said the students are well-prepared to become supervisors for the Airmen of the future.

“They’re ready to step up and take on the challenge so it’s exciting to see their eagerness to go out there and be the best supervisors,” said Craig.

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