VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
When most people think of the United States Air Force, the first things that comes to mind are the men and women in uniform. While those men and women do make up a big part of the force, there are many other valuable members that work alongside them.
Within most units across base, civilian members work hand-in-hand with their military counterparts. However, the structure of the military can be very different from a civilian workplace, and it is important for civilian members to understand military operations and leadership skills to perform and collaborate with coworkers during their day-to-day tasks.
One tool the military offers to help bridge the gap between military personnel and civilians is Airman Leadership School, a five week course designed to develop Airmen into effective front-line supervisors. During the course, Airmen participate in group discussions, unit-cohesion activities, physical training and other leadership development curriculum to help students grow into leaders.
While the course is traditionally only available to enlisted personnel, the 30th Force Support Squadron at Vandenberg Air Force Base has opened the course to civilians, as well, allowing them to have a better understanding of military leadership and operations.
“Civilians can attend ALS for the opportunity to enhance their leadership perspective by understanding how the Air Force shapes their Airmen who are becoming supervisors,” said Staff Sgt. Akia Carter, Vandenberg ALS instructor. “Having civilians in attendance is helpful for the students, civilians and us as instructors.”
According to Carter, the dynamics of the course have boosted due to the discussion between civilian and military personnel because it helps members understand different perspectives, while also gaining insight to the importance for both to work together.
“I got to learn more about my mission and my role in the total force, which I found amazing,” said Monica Ashmore, Vandenberg AFB’s first civilian ALS attendee. “Hearing the Airmen speak about their missions and roles really gave me a good look into what everyone does and how some of our jobs intertwined in order to complete the mission.”
According to Ashmore, seeing the military perspective and bringing a civilian perspective to the course were the most rewarding experiences in the course.
While the course was not only beneficial to Ashmore, as she learned more about the Airmen and what they do, the service members also gained important insight from their civilian team member.
“Having a civilian in my ALS class showed me a new perspective,” said Senior Airman Tiyanna Hayes, 381st Training Group financial advisor. “My civilian classmate, Monica Ashmore, offered authentic and unbiased opinions, as well as providing the class with solutions that we had not even thought of as Airmen.”
While Ashmore was the first civilian to attend ALS at Vandenberg ABF, instructors encourage other civilians to attend the course as it is an invaluable tool to learn more about the foundation of the military workplace.
For more information on the course, contact ALS at 805-606-5595.