ANG Command Chief among key speakers at Florida ANG's first Airman Development Course

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Troy Anderson
  • 125th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
"I want every Airman to take away that as the Command Chief, I value them as a human; I value them as an Airman" said Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, Command Chief Master Sgt. of the Air National Guard.

From July 9th to the 11th, Hotaling visited Florida Air National Guard units in and around Jacksonville, Florida. During his visit he held enlisted calls, presented a Senior Enlisted Leader's Perspective session and facilitated Florida's first ever Airman Development Course (ADC).

"The guidance and motivation that he was able to provide to us was immeasurable" said Technical Sgt. Daniel Flores, Production Recruiter who attended both the ADC and one of Hotaling's enlisted calls. "If you didn't leave out of there proud to be an Airman in the United States Air Force you were sleeping."

During Hotaling's presentations he explained his Aim Points which included: a renewed commitment to the profession of arms, a focus on health of the force and recognizing and embracing accomplishments. Throughout his discussion he provided opportunities for audience participation and feedback.

"I believe feedback is important for any system to function appropriately" Staff Sgt. Chad Manson, Contract Specialist. "So you need that feedback from top to bottom and bottom to top."

Much of Hotaling's feedback elicited laughter, while some produced surprise. One thing is certain, he knew how to keep the attention of those in attendance.

"As I was looking at those around me, I could see that people were engaged" said Flores. "There was a general thirst to be there. It really showed how important this information is by having the Command Chief take the time to come out and speak with us."

The main event was the Airman Development Course at the 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville, Florida. The ADC proved to be a perfect opportunity for Hotaling to convey the ANG's message to Florida's young leaders. The two day course allowed junior enlisted (E-1 to E-6) Air Guard members the opportunity to learn from multiple speakers on a myriad of topics pertaining to military leadership, personal development and a renewed focus.

A total of 158 Florida Air National Guardsmen from all over the state congregated at the 125th Fighter Wing to attend the ADC.

"Each Airman will take something a little bit different away from the course" said Hotaling.  "Most of the speakers in those last two days came with emotional impact. You will take that emotion much further than the data. That's why it's individual to each person."

The ADC included other guest speakers such as Brig. Gen. Mark Jannitto, Commander, Joint Force Headquarters, Rhode Island National Guard, Chief Master Sgt. Tony Whitehead, Command Chief Master Sgt. of the Air National Guard Readiness Center and Chief Master Sgt. Jennifer Reecy, South Dakota Air National Guard Head Quarters Superintendent. Topics included Unreasonable and Deliberate Leadership, Mentorship, Ethics, Diversity, Creating a Culture of Leadership, Resiliency and both a Commander's and Senior Enlisted Leader's Perspective Q&A panel.

"The biggest take away was that this information wasn't for us to keep or hold onto as individuals" said Flores. "This information was designed for us to become better leaders to those that we supervise. Ultimately they are giving us leadership techniques to take care of the airmen we supervise and pass these techniques down to them to use in their everyday lives."

The focus of producing excellent, driven military members both on and off-duty has increased drastically in recent years. This focus has been seen in not only policy and regulation changes, but also operational intensity and emphasis in 'Comprehensive Airman Fitness'.

"There's been a lot of changes in the Guard since I joined, and now I kind of understand why," said Manson. "We are becoming a more valuable force relative to the Active Duty "regular" Air Force. So that means we have to step up our game here in the Guard."

A common theme throughout the ADC was the Comprehensive Airman Fitness concept. This concept is a four pillar model for ensuring a resilient and well-balanced Airman. The pillars include mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness that are to be incorporated into not only military duty, but in the member's family and civilian life.

125th Fighter Wing leadership started planning the event almost a year prior to it taking place. The planning had to include the cost of activating traditional drill Guardsmen from around the state to attend the course as well as the necessary regulations in bringing in the key speakers.

"One thing I was proud of as an organization was the fact that upper leadership understood how important this is" said Flores. "The magnitude of this type of training is essential to airmen at all levels. I hope every state out there is already doing this or is following our lead in providing this to their force."