Military News

Thursday, April 02, 2015

ANG Command Chief's Huddle motivates and inspires senior enlisted leaders

by Master Sgt. Marvin R. Preston
Air National Guard Readiness Center Public Affairs

4/2/2015 - VOLK FIELD COMBAT READINESS TRAINING CENTER, Wis.  -- Air National Guard Command Chief Master Sergeants and other senior enlisted leaders met to discuss issues and challenges facing the ANG during the annual Command Chief's Huddle March 28-29 here.

Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief of the Air National Guard, hosted the two-day meeting and remarked on the growing significance of the ANG during times of shrinking resources and manpower.

"It is critically important to know that the environment we are in today is very dynamic", said Hotaling. "The [Air National] Guard that you joined no longer exists. The dynamics of the Department of Defense and your United States Air Force is fundamentally changing how we operate within the Air National Guard. This is an amazing time in our history."

The Command Chief's Huddle brings together more than 150 Command Chief Master Sergeants and other senior enlisted leaders from 89 Air National Guard wings and units, representing 54 states, territories and the District of Columbia to openly discuss a wide range of issues and challenges facing the ANG.

Maj. Gen. Donald P. Dunbar, Wisconsin Adjutant General, welcomed those in attendance and stressed the importance of strong senior enlisted leadership.

"This is your time and you're at a stage in your life where you don't get to have bad days," said Dunbar. "Your role is too important...people are watching you, watching everything you do and say. We've got the best organization in the world, the best Air Force leadership, the best leadership in the Guard we've ever had, the best enlisted leadership we've ever had and we have wonderful young men and women who wear this uniform and make our country better."

Retired Command Chief Master Sgt. Richard A. Smith, 9th command chief of the ANG says it also motivates and inspires those in attendance.

"These folks here are the gatekeepers of the 91,000 men and women in the Air National Guard who wear stripes on their sleeves," said Smith. "I'm very excited, I'm re-blued. I wish I had the uniform back on because this is a great time to be a leader in the Air National Guard."

The Huddle's theme, "It's on us," focused heavily on the implementation of new training methods, ideas and professional development. It was highlighted by the newly restructured Air Force basic military training course at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The eight-and-a-half-week course has been reorganized to make room for a new five-day program called Capstone Week for trainees entering BMT.

Capstone Week concentrates on strengthening character, resiliency, and sexual assault and prevention and response, and offers the Air Force an additional opportunity to develop Airmen who are committed to its core values. Technical Sgt. Andrea Jamarillo, a Military Training Instructor assigned to the 323rd Training Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, describes the benefits of the new class.

"I think it'll help the Airmen greatly," said Jamarillo. "The training will help make them critical thinkers and help them make better decisions regardless of the circumstances they're in."

Additionally, Capstone Week will provide instruction and promote discussion among Airmen in an interactive forum rather than the more structured BMT curriculum. Discussions will also include wingmanship, leadership and followership, the warrior ethos, and balancing personal and professional lives.

Other presentations dealt with ancillary training, professional military education, developmental special duty assignments and updates to the Senior Enlisted Leader Management Office.

This year's Command Chief's Huddle also arms Command Chiefs with the necessary tools to be better leaders and help resolve issues currently affecting the Air Force.

"Command Chiefs should be leaving here excited, full of knowledge and motivated," said Chief Master Sgt. Lowell E. Schellhase, command chief master sergeant of the Iowa ANG. "The key to it is not just leaving here, but taking it back to our units. Every command chief should go back energized and apply what they leaned here, every [unit training assembly] drill, talking with their Airmen and making our Air National Guard better than it's ever been."

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