125th Fighter Wing places an emphasis on developing leaders

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jaclyn Lyons
  • 125th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
"Leadership is a people thing. If your Airmen are your greatest resource, then you need to take care of them, give them opportunities to inspire and lead. You need to take them from where they are now to a different place," explained Brig. Gen. Marcus Jannitto, Director of the Air National Guard's Commander Development Course, this weekend at the 125th Fighter Wing.

The 125th Fighter Wing hosted a Mini-Commander's Development Course Friday and Saturday for members of the Florida Air National Guard (FLANG). The course was kicked off by Jannitto and featured guest speakers ranging from members of the FLANG to the Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard, Chief Master Sgt. James Hotaling, and culminated with remarks from Admiral Bill Gortney, Commander of NORAD U.S. Northern Command.

Florida Air National Guard senior leaders talk with Airmen during the Mini-Commander’s Development Course at the 125th Fighter Wing, Feb. 28, 2015. Photo by Master Sgt. Jaclyn Lyons

The course was a shorter version of the ANG Commander's Development Course, which is two weeks long in Washington D.C. for every new wing and group commander, and was open to staff sergeants all the way up to colonels from the Fighter Wing. This was the first time a class like this had been offered at the base and it gave a renewed perspective on leadership by featuring speakers from across the Air Force, with both enlisted and officer perspectives as well as localized and higher headquarters perspectives.

Staff Sgt. Kelsey Brunson was one of the youngest Airmen in attendance, but took full advantage of being able to listen to senior leaders speak about their leadership experiences and philosophies.

"It's a great opportunity for me because I have only been in a position of leadership for a few months. So to be able to take their advice and guide the Airmen I am now in charge of is a privilege. I am learning how to be a leader and set long term goals for my future with the Air National Guard" Brunson said.

The topics covered ranged from Inspector General "lessons-learned," ethics and leadership, enlisted leadership perspective, what it means to be a leader, and Admiral Gortney's attributes for success.

One of the highlights of the course was being able to listen to Gortney's leadership perspective. His sentiments on the foundation of leadership and success echoed the speakers before him. His tips for success are: integrity; trust; courage; judgment; passion; excellence; balance; and service. Each of these things builds upon each other and come together to create a well-rounded leader. In addition to those things, when asked what traits he thought were most important as a leader he responded with humility and humor.

One point remained constant in all the presentations: that the American Airman is the Air Force's greatest resource. Chief Hotaling stressed the value of the Airman, no matter their rank or position. He went on to point out how every Airman has a leadership role, whether it is managing people, excelling at their job, or simply representing the profession of arms.

"As resources decrease, the value of our Airmen only increases," Hotaling said. "No matter what level of leadership you're at, you have the power to be empowered. No matter where you are in your organization, you are empowered to make change."