125th Fighter Wing Airmen shine as rare selections in joint GATEWAY course

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jesse Hanson
  • 125th Fighter Wing

Two Airmen from the 131st Training Flight were the only Air National Guard members selected to attend the in-residence GATEWAY course, August 21-26, 2023, at the National Defense University located in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgts. Jennifer Schroeder and Justin Van Meter, training instructors for the 131st Training Flight, were selected to attend the six-day course by Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his council.

The Airmen attended the course with 48 participants who represented all branches of service. The Air National Guard was allotted only two seats for this joint training. Both seats were awarded to members of the 131st Training Flight.

Course candidates are evaluated for character, competence, and commitment to the mission. They are also evaluated on how effectively they exhibit leadership attributes, including intellect, credibility, accountability, agility and discipline.

The GATEWAY course is designed to strengthen joint perspectives and interactions between branches, while preparing the senior enlisted corps for enhanced joint leadership opportunities.

“You get a huge exposure with a lot of information over the course of those six days,” said Van Meter. “We learned about inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, how they interact with other agencies, the Chiefs of Staff office itself, and how communications flow from the Pentagon.”

Schroeder added, “Being in the GATEWAY Course heightened my desire to understand and work more within a joint environment. Learning from the Command Senior Enlisted Leadership of different Combatant Commands, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and all of the different Armed Forces branches really made me want to be a part of the bigger picture in what we do and why we do it.”

Both Schroeder and Van Meter plan to share what they learned with other members of the 125th Fighter Wing to enhance professional development at the unit level.

“Being an instructor at a schoolhouse, I can incorporate more knowledge into my lessons and provide more knowledge to my students so that they can be better prepared for the future,” said Schroeder.