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188th Wing officers complete first Flight Commander Leadership Course

A newly commissioned officer a part of the Air Force’s Officer Training School class 19-07 participates in the graduation ceremony Sept. 27, 2019, in Montgomery, Alabama. The OTS graduation parade and ceremony signifies the end of the trainee’s initial officer training and the beginning of their career as an Air Force officer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Charles Welty)

A newly commissioned officer a part of the Air Force’s Officer Training School class 19-07 participates in the graduation ceremony Sept. 27, 2019, in Montgomery, Alabama. The OTS graduation parade and ceremony signifies the end of the trainee’s initial officer training and the beginning of their career as an Air Force officer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Charles Welty)

FORT SMITH, Ark. -- Thirteen company grade officers and two chief master sergeants participated in the first 188th Wing Flight Commander Leadership Course Dec. 10-12 here.

The course was born from a 2018 Air Force initiative to revitalize squadrons and empower Airmen leaders at all levels to take on responsibility for their organizations.

“This is a supplement, not replacement for the Air and Space Basic Course or Squadron Officer School,” said Lt. Col. Myk Martin, course facilitator and 123rd Intelligence Squadron commander. “It’s a deliberate effort to grow and teach young leaders the first level of leadership. It’s also the first opportunity for squadron commanders to see who the flight commanders are and potentially identify strong performers.”

The 2018 squadron revitalization initiative included an Air Force-wide review. Key findings were that squadron leaders did not feel empowered, and an overall lack of training or education for young officers.

“This finding turned into Air University developing a flight command leadership course to train first level officers basic leadership skills,” said Martin. “They give the course directors a lot of leeway, but they published a lot of materials for the course itself. There are 15 mandatory lessons, but then we can fill the curriculum with what we feel is needed. We picked special topics we wish we knew about when we were young captains.”

Some topics discussed were developing full-range leadership, how to develop others, communication in command, discipline and the Uniformed Code of Justice, conflict management, and emotional intelligence.

“This is a vital course for up and coming officers,” said Capt. Nathan Sosebee, Distribution Flight commander, 188th Logistics Readiness Squadron. “The best part was being allowed to ask candid questions to senior leaders and receive advice and input based on their experience and lessons learned.”

Two senior NCOs also participated in the course because the wing would like to develop a similar course for the senior enlisted Airmen as well.

“It was a good experience to be part of a new initiative to elevate the leadership knowledge and skills of the wing,” said Chief Master Sgt. Marcus Booker, 188th Operations Support Squadron chief. “The course environment enabled us to share our knowledge and experiences as well as grow and learn together.”