Military News

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Airmen receive mentorship lesson, get inspired at A/TA 15

by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
Headquarters Air Mobility Command


11/6/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- A sea of blue filled the Orlando World Center Marriot, Florida. No, the resort was not filled with water, but with more than 1,500 U.S. Air Force Airmen from across the globe.

Airmen from a wide range of specialties attended Oct. 29 through Nov. 1, to learn about this year's theme, 'Mobility Airmen's excellence in action in the past, present and future' during the 47th Annual Airlift/Tanker Association Convention and Air Mobility Symposium.

The symposium serves as a key professional development forum for Air Mobility Command's Total Force Airmen.

AMC selects 98 Airmen to attend the symposium. The Airmen are divided into classes by rank - Phoenix Stripe for E-5 and E-6, High Flight for O-1 to 0-3 and Cornerstone for civilians. They are provided a specific agenda dedicated to learning topics their ranks will benefit from the most.

They are also provided direct access to senior Air Force leaders including the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Mobility leaders, Gen. Darren McDew, the U.S. Transportation Command commander, and Gen. Carlton Everhart, AMC commander. The environment fosters open dialogue and honest discussions.

Another benefit of the symposium is a large amount of mobility Airmen in one place at one time. This was the first opportunity the new Air Mobility Command commander, was able to speak to so many Mobility Airmen in person. During his time addressing the professional development classes, he discussed how their jobs impact' the overall Rapid Global Mobility mission. He told them AMC is the only command that can enable and sustain United States military missions by providing a refueling service no one else can, swift airdrops, aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation.

"Rapid Global Mobility is essential to our nation's response, and there is a growing need for what we do," said Everhart. "The key to the mobility enterprise, past, present and future, is well-educated and professionally developed Airmen. In order to shape our global enterprise, we must face challenges and find ways to succeed against overwhelming odds. Because our nation needs Mobility Airmen to lead us to a future where today's innovations will become routine."

As examples, he referenced the Mobility Airmen who helped design the C-5M Super Galaxy, C-130J Super Hercules and KC-46A. Everhart described the C-5M as a game changer in terms of speed, payload and mission reliability. He called the C-130J one of the most flexible airlifters in the world, then he posed questions to the audience.

"The fleet is in a good place right now, but what about the future? What will the airlift aircraft look like and what new capabilities will it bring? How will we use directed energy, hypersonic, nano-technology or remotely piloted aircraft? Are the answers in the technologies that the next tanker or airlifter will utilize, or will they use something that hasn't been imagined yet? These are only a few questions remaining for Mobility Airmen to solve while training to prepare for the future."

One of the attendees, Staff Sgt. Heather Clifton, fire protection journeyman in the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., said she didn't know what to expect from the symposium when she was notified she was selected by leadership to attend.

This is her first time working for Air Mobility Command in her seven-year career. Since she joined, she has worked for Air Combat Command and Pacific Air Force Command. She has been at working for AMC for a year now.

In fire protection, the Airman's main job is to protect the aircraft according to Clifton, who hadn't realized what a small piece her career field plays in the big puzzle of Rapid Global Mobility.

"This convention put into perspective of how well we [AMC] provide global mobility and how much we do for the rest of the Air Force.. "I was really in awe," said Clifton.

The AT/A convention motivated her to be a better mentor and leader for her Airman, Clifton said. She had an opportunity to talk to Everhart after he gave his keynote speech on the last day. After his speech, he addressed Phoenix Stripe for a discussion.

Clifton asked the general, "How do you bring people together and inspire them?" He replied, "You just have to love your people and love what you do," she said.

Out of the more than 50 seminars available at A/TA, Clifton said the best briefing she attended was called, "Mentoring-How We Do It," which consisted of a panel with the three male generals and one female lieutenant colonel. She said she got a good perspective from all spectrums on what it takes to be a mentor.

"If you are a good leader, you inspire others to want to get the job done well," she said. "Professional development is mentoring your Airmen so they can be better than you are now when they get to your rank. It takes leadership and mentoring to help them accomplish this, and that's what I intend to take back to my work center... Hopefully [this information] will broaden our small career field of fire protection."

In the beginning, she was a little uncertain what she would learn, especially since she was new to AMC. But after it was all done, Clifton said she is glad she had the opportunity, even though it took her outside of her comfort level.

For those who are interested in attending the Mobility Symposium as part of the Phoenix Stripe Program in the future, Clifton provided some advice.

"Take the time to notice your weaknesses, improve upon them and ask leadership questions. It will help you figure out your impact in the big mobility mission," she said. "Overall I learned, if you develop Airmen to be the best they can be, and you inspire them both professionally and on a personal level, Airmen are going to want to work for those leaders, because they know their leaders care about them. Gen. Everhart is very inspiring and makes me want to do the mission based on how much he cares for people."

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