Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: July, 2016 (8) Currently Viewing: 1 - 8 of 8

July 1, 2016 at 11:48am

62nd crew chiefs abroad

Senior Airman Chris Goins, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, fuels a C-17 Globemaster III prior to takeoff June 24, 2016, at Libreville, Gabon Africa. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Tim Chacon

LIBERVILLE, Gabon Africa - When a C-17 Globemaster III aircrew takes off for a mission and plans on being in a location without proper maintenance support, they bring along a 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief to ensure the aircraft is taken care of.

FCCs are a one-person maintenance crew whose sole purpose is to ensure the air crews have a flyable aircraft despite the austere locations with limited support of the area they often land at. A special duty within the maintenance career field, FCCs can be asked a lot of.

"FCCs take care of the jet wherever the jet goes," said Senior Airman Chris Goins, 62nd AMXS flying crew chief. "FCCs are picked by the managers and are the best of the best. The (airmen) that will go out are expected to represent (maintenance) well and get the job done."

When a C-17 lands at McChord Field, typically several airmen meet it at its parking ready to help get the work done. When a C-17 lands in a place like Libreville in Gabon, Africa, the C-17 and crew are met by hot, humid air and not much else.

"Things are harder on the road," said Goins. "There is noone to turn to for help if something is wrong. It's just you and your laptop. Back home you can just call someone from that specialty."

With the exception of possibly some longtime engineers at Boeing, it would be impractical for someone to know everything about the C-17. FCCs may not know how to fix everything but, what they can do is figure out exactly what is wrong and what the aircraft needs to fly again. Knowing what parts and what people need to be sent can save days' worth of time the aircraft is grounded.

"We can't be qualified on every system, but we are familiar with them," said Staff Sgt. Matt Phillips, 62nd AMXS C-17 flying crew chief. "If it's something we can't fix or can't fly without, we can at least call back so the maintenance teams aren't coming in blind."

Some systems have backups and some issues are not cause for grounding an aircraft. It is up to the FCC to determine which is which and advise the mission commander on if the aircraft can go on.

Being the sole mechanic on a mission has a great deal of responsibility. The aircraft has to get fixed and it's up to the FCC to figure out how to get it done.

"We are held to a high standard because we are responsible for the mission," said Phillips. "Even if the aircrew leaves, we still have to stay with the aircraft and get it fixed."

Aircrew have rules in place that can limit their duty and time spent working. This is not the case for FCC.

"We still have to fix the aircraft," said Phillips. "Even if you have a twenty-hour-day of flying, it still has to get done."

Despite the difficulties of working on their own, in conditions that often work more against them than for them, FCC has its perks.

"You get to travel the world and see different things," said Goins. "At home station you just see the aircraft take off and that's it, but as an FCC you get to see the mission impact."

Phillips echoed Goins' thoughts on the benefits and has definitely experienced them in his two-and-a-half years as a FCC.

"I always wanted to travel the world and I heard all the cool stories from FCCs so I figured I'd see it for myself," said Phillips. "I still want to see all seven continents, but even if I stopped now I'd be happy with it."

Being an FCC is a unique opportunity for maintenance airmen and something Phillips encourages airmen who want to do it, should go for it.

"It's hard being away from family, but being an FCC is something to experience. You learn a lot from it. If it's something an airman wants they should work for it. Learn everything you can and ask all the questions you can; it might just help you if you get stuck somewhere."  

July 8, 2016 at 11:00am

Mini C-17's first trip abroad

ROYAL NAVAL AIR STATION YEOVILTON, ENGLAND - The 315th Airlift Wing's mini C-17 made its first trip across the pond June 30 and was a huge hit at Yeovilton Air Day 2016.

This is the 315th AWs second time visiting ROYAL Naval Air Station Yeovilton, England, and the mighty presence of the mini C-17 helped seal the deal for another "Best Static Display" award.

The miniature C-17 has been used all across the United States to promote the Air Force Reserve and bolster recruiting efforts at air shows, parades and other community events.

Taking the mini C-17 to RNAS Yeovilton was a bonus for the people visiting the air show, and the reservists on this trip wanted to give the children and people of all ages a sight that is nothing less than amazing.

"We are really good at making people smile when we visit and participate in an air show," said Lt. Col. Craig Bartosh, a 701st Airlift Squadron pilot at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. "The air show was so successful for us last year; we knew we needed to up our game this year, and the mini C-17 was the perfect solution. Our mini C-17 is an amazing replica of the C-17, and it speaks volumes to the hard work and dedication of the men and women who represent the 315th Airlift Wing."

Once on the ground in Yeoviltion it didn't take long for the entire crew to join forces and get the mini C-17 assembled. Unloading the custom truck and trailer took patience, skill and knowledge, and after that was achieved it was all hands on deck.

Positioned slightly off the left nose of the C-17, the min C-17 started getting walk-by traffic immediately from other vendors and crew members who were setting up for the next day's air show.

And, yes... just like in air shows past, there were many who asked if the mini C-17 could take to the skies and fly.

According to Master Sgt. Chris Fabel, a 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief, the idea of building a mini C-17 was birthed in 1999. It wasn't until 2002 when the 23-month construction phase began to bring the idea to life.

Fabel has been with the mini C-17 from its inception, and he continues to volunteer his time as a member of the mini C-17 team. Each mini C-17 event requires an assembly team of three to four members and is based on the specific needs at each event.

The 315th AW also won best in show for their static display at the airshow.

July 8, 2016 at 11:06am

Overcoming challenges

Robert Snyder, McChord Field Air Force Recovery Care Coordinator, speaks to an airman inside the 62nd medical clinic June 20, 2016 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

"I'm not a deeply religious person, but I believe there is something or someone out there and whatever he or she is doing is guiding me, because it's going to help me see what I need to."

These words from Robert Snyder, McChord Field Air Force Recovery Care Coordinator, ring true throughout his life, especially now.

It's Snyder's job to help our Wounded Warriors in their recovery process.

According to http://warriorcare.dodlive.mil, the Recovery Care Coordinators work closely with each servicemember, their families and recovery teams to develop a Comprehensive Recovery Plan.

Snyder, a retired master sergeant, has spent the last three years doing just that, and he has assisted more than 140 airmen throughout Washington and Oregon.

"We take care of folks from beginning to end," said Snyder. "It's a whole team effort from initial identification through recovery and rehabilitation to the fitness evaluation, otherwise known as the Medical Evaluation Board and re-integration or separation. I am with them through it all."

The program, which the Air Force began in 2005, provides services to not only combat Wounded Warriors, but also to any airman with a severe illness or injury.

"It's a great program and we try to catch everybody," he said. "But we have had some Wounded Warriors that refused the help. I don't hound those people, I just let them know what services are available."

Snyder said the job is about connecting with people.

"It's an advantage that I love to talk, because when I talk to Wounded Warriors, regardless of what kind of injury they have, I need to know what's going on," said Snyder. "I can't help them If I don't know what's wrong."

The first year on the job he was working with an Explosive Ordnance Disposal airman who was missing both of his legs and his right arm.

Four months ago, Snyder found himself facing the possibility of becoming an amputee himself. Having been a diabetic for many years, he has always been cautioned to care for his feet and so he has. But last year he suffered from a foot infection and had to have two of his toes removed.

Unfortunately, earlier this year he had to be seen again.

"This year my foot swelled double its normal size due to a bone infection," he said.

The diagnosis was more severe than he originally thought. He was forced to make the decision to have his foot and part of his leg amputated.

Despite the initial shock, he was in a hurry to recover and get back to doing what he could to help others.

"It drives me nuts not being able to do anything, and I hate that ‘woe is me crap,'" he said. "The doctors were laughing at me in the hospital, because I was on the phone with my warriors after my surgery. I simply said let's move forward, let's go. "

It's not that he hasn't struggled, because he has, it's that he says he doesn't want to ever hear "I can't."

He has taken tumbles, quite literally.

Recently, Snyder and his wife were going to a local fair and he fell in the rocky parking lot on his way in.

"I hit a large rock and I flipped over and my wife was really upset by it," he said. "But I tucked and rolled and laughed at myself for falling."

A man helped Snyder up off the ground and he was okay.

"There are times where I ask myself ‘really,' said Snyder. "I keep hoping one day it'll grow back. A lot of people I work with go through this. Luckily, I have a great support system in my family and at work."

He said a common misconception about amputees is regarding their abilities.

"A lot of people think I can't do things because of my leg," he said. "And you may be thinking, how are they going to be able to do that if they're in a wheelchair or they're missing limbs. (However), you will be amazed at what these folks (amputees) can do. Even I used to think the same thing."

Snyder said at times caregivers are overlooked when it comes to the care of Wounded Warriors, but they are instrumental.

To offer support to the warriors and their caregivers, Joint Base Lewis-McChord is hosting the Warrior Care event here, Aug. 1-4.

It includes adaptive elective sports, an employment fair and seminars for the caregivers including stress management and financial management information.

One hundred sixty combined Air Force and Army members are expected to participate in the event and that's not including caregivers.

"There's a lot of things those caregivers are going through that they didn't expect to have to deal with," said Snyder.

And there are an abundance of resources out there for the caregivers that they may not know about.

"Everyone is different and we all handle challenges differently, but if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger," said Snyder.

For more information about Wounded Warrior recovery care, contact 253.982.8580.

July 15, 2016 at 10:17am

McChord honors WASP on 100th birthday

WASPs Alta (Teta) Thomas of Sequim, Dorothy Olsen of University Place, Betty Dybbro of Lacey, and Mary Jean Sturdevant of Spanaway, get together for a photo in front of Olsen’s favorite airplane, the P-51. Photo credit: Joan Brown

As a little girl growing up on a farm in Woodburn, Oregon, Dorothy Kocher Olsen read a book about the Red Baron, the famous German World War I ace, and instantly decided she, too, wanted to fly.  Several years later, a teacher asked the class what they each wanted to do when they grew up. As Olsen quickly replied, "I want to fly," he smirked and her classmates laughed. "I'll show you," she thought to herself.

"I knew what I wanted and I went after it." That's how this WWII Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) describes how she accomplished what women in her day were never expected to achieve.

Olsen worked hard to earn the money necessary to enable her to take flying lessons and eventually get her private license. The only woman in the Woodburn Aero Club, along with five men who flew the club's 40-HP Taylor Craft as crop dusters or for pleasure, Olsen decided one day to take a friend along and follow I-5 north. She ended up landing on a taxi strip but got into no trouble over it, she said, "because I was a woman." Sometimes that gave her an advantage.

On Sunday, July 10, Olsen celebrated her 100th birthday at McChord, surrounded by family, friends, former WASPs and their "heirs," active-duty female AF pilots. The event began with static tours of the C-141 and C-17 aircraft, followed by a birthday party at the Heritage Hill Pavilion. As a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010, Olsen says she feels very fortunate to be recognized. "I did well because I loved it. I don't think you can be good at what you don't like."

Joining in the birthday celebration were former WASP Alta (Teta) Thomas of Sequim, a bay mate of Olsen's as they went through training in the class of 43-W-4; Betty Dybbro of Lacey; and Mary Jean Sturdevant of Spanaway, three of the many who paved the way for today's female military pilots. They were joined by Lt. Col. Liz Scott, commander of the 4th Airlift Squadron; her daughter Allison; Maj. Kate Benson, also a 4th Airlift Squadron pilot; and retired C-17 pilot Lt. Col. Kimberly Scott, who now flies Boeing 737s for Alaska Airlines. To cap the celebration, Carter Teeters of Heritage Flight flew in Olsen's favorite airplane, the P-51 Mustang, and landed it next to the C-17 at McChord. He also saluted Olsen with several fly-bys before returning to Paine Field.

Of the 1,100 WASPs who flew every plane the Army had, the five-foot-tall Olsen was one of the few trained to fly pursuit in the P-51 Mustang, as well as the twin-engine P-38, both fast, small planes she much prefers to larger aircraft. She also earned the instrument rating necessary to allow her to take off at night.

But there was very little room in the cockpit of the P-51 - just enough to tuck a little shoe bag with dancing shoes underneath her seat. "So every night," her daughter Julie Stranburg explained, "she'd have a date with a different guy and go dancing." Perhaps she was only keeping up proficiency in her dancing ability because teaching ballet and tap had helped her early on to earn enough money to get herself into the sky in the first place.

Asked if she was ever afraid when she got into dangerous situations, Olsen said "Never - because I was so confident in my own ability and in the airplanes themselves." Even when the engine on one plane that she was flying developed a cracked block and began splashing oil all over the windshield, totally obscuring vision, she landed by looking out to the side. Did she have any trouble bringing it down? "No, I was a very good pilot."

After the WASPs were disbanded in December 1944, Olsen took on one more flying job, ferrying war-weary BT-13 airplanes, along with two other pilots, to a new owner in Troutdale, Oregon. Along the way, they became lost in a snowstorm in Kemmerer, Wyoming, and ran low on gas. The other two pilots wanted to turn back, but Olsen refused. Instead, they were guided in by the townspeople shining their car headlights on the airport that sat obscured by the storm on a raised plateau.

In June 1945, several months after the WASPs were unceremoniously disbanded, she and Harold Olsen, a Washington State Patrolman, were married and moved to Adams Street in Tacoma. Asked if she found it difficult to give up flying, she said, "I had enough catching up to do about being a housewife. I was married to a man I loved dearly - and then I had children." In addition to Julie, Olsen's family includes her son Kim, grandson Robert George, his wife Chanly and great grandson Cody.

By the time Olsen's children were in grade school and the family had built a 2,000-square-foot home in University Place with little or nothing with which to furnish it, Olsen "took off" again, this time with both feet on the ground. She started going to garage sales to find furniture which she'd clean up and restore.

Eventually, as pieces began to accumulate beyond the family's own needs, Olsen had to start having her own garage sales. Finally, with only the first month's rent and limited knowledge, Olsen decided to open Olsen's Antiques, which for 40 years occupied the entire corner of Steilacoom Blvd. and Bridgeport Way in what is now Lakewood.

When she developed an abscessed tooth, the massive doses of streptomycin the dentist prescribed killed the nerve and made her extremely ill. In one week she became totally deaf for the next 37 years. But she swiftly learned to read lips and at 80, she was finally able to have a cochlear implant, making her probably the oldest implantee at the University of Washington at the time. At the same age, Olsen also got her first speeding ticket, as she was leaving Long Beach, Washington, driving a Mustang, but a Ford this time instead of a P-51.

At age 100, Olsen neither looks nor acts her age. She remains small, fast and still flying high.

As fellow WASP Betty Dybbro laughingly chastised her, "You don't look a hundred. You don't act a hundred. When are you going to grow up?"

July 22, 2016 at 2:37pm

KC-46 completes flight tests

A KC-46 Pegasus refuels an A-10 Thunderbolt II with 1,500 pounds of fuel July 15, 2016. The mission was the last of all flight tests required for the tanker’s Milestone C production decision. Boeing photo/John D. Parker

The KC-46 Pegasus program completed all flight tests required for the Milestone C production decision July 15 by offloading 1,500 pounds of fuel to an A-10 Thunderbolt II.

The successful A-10 mission was the last of six in-flight refueling demonstrations required before the tanker program can request approval from Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, to award production Lots 1 and 2, totaling 19 KC-46A aircraft.

"It is great to see the KC-46 boom back in action and the program moving forward to a production decision" said Col. John Newberry, the KC-46 system program manager.

The other five required air refueling demonstrations were with the C-17 Globemaster III and F-16 Fighting Falcon using the air refueling boom, the Navy's F-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier II using the centerline and wing drogue systems, and the KC-46 as a receiver aircraft.

"Today's flight marks the final step we needed to see on the boom fix in order to request production go-ahead," said Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, the Air Force program executive officer for tankers. "Our joint team's tireless efforts are paying off, preparing us for the next step of this critical need to our warfighter."

This test would not have been possible without contributions from the 412th Test Wing, 23rd Fighter Wing, 355th FW, 124th FW, 896th Test Support Squadron and 40th Flight Test Squadron, which all provided aircraft, manpower and equipment.

The Milestone C decision to begin low-rate initial production is expected in August.

July 28, 2016 at 10:09am

McChord airman receives Spirit of Service Award

Jim Broe (left), American Legion representative, and Chief Master Sgt. Tiko Mazid (right), 62nd Airlift Wing command chief, present Tech. Sgt. Danita Welch with the American Legion Spirit of Service Award, July 15. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

If you have walked into the McChord Airman's Clinic at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, you may have been greeted by a 62nd Medical Squadron member with a contagious smile and amazing sense of humor. She's professional, charismatic, helpful and as genuine as one can be. Her name is Danita Welch, "like the grape juice," she said.

Welch, who will soon retire from the Air Force after 20-plus years of service, was recognized by the American Legion for her dedication to helping others at the American Legion Service to America Banquet, July 15, in Centralia.

A native of Wisconsin, she enlisted in 1997 and she serves as the Health Services Manager at the McChord Clinic, and she is a single mother.

Welch has two daughters - one biological and one adopted - and the other 50, well, they are her foster kids.

"I'd like to thank Bri and Ash and the other fifty-plus kids that have lived in my home and stolen a piece of my heart and taken it with them when they walked out the door," said Welch. "Not (just) anyone can be a foster parent, but anyone can help a foster child."

Over the years, Welch has provided a home, love, support, laughter, and hope to children who were taken away from their families for different reasons.

The children's ages ranged anywhere from 11 months to 18 years old, and they stayed with her anywhere from one night to three years.

"Fostering for me personally means a few things; it's a way to uniquely build my family while helping others," said Welch. "It helps me feel as though I am giving back to the many unofficial foster moms that helped navigate me to adulthood. Finally, in my heart of hearts, I am a story teller. Every phone call that asks me for a bed is a connection to someone's story. I want to be a part of that story."

Welch was recognized for her service to others by the American Legion with the Spirit of Service Award.

The American Legion gives the Spirit of Service Awards annually to servicemembers from each branch of service in recognition of their exemplary efforts in volunteering in their local communities.

"First, I'd like to thank the American Legionnaires for giving me this award," said Welch. "This means a lot. I'd like to thank my fellow servicemembers for always making sure my girls always have extra clothes, shoes and gifts during the holidays. The state is fantastic, but there is just never enough, and the need is so great. I'd like to thank my daughter Arianna for sharing her home, her things, her friends and her mom. And I'd like to thank my adopted daughter Naomi for choosing us as her forever-family, because that's like joining the circus."

Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, was the guest speaker at the award ceremony and reiterated the significance of the event.

"When I was asked to speak tonight, I jumped at the opportunity because it's an honor to be here with some of our nation's true servants," said Kosinski. "Most in the room have served in the military and it's humbling to see you carry on a lifetime of service. But I want to thank everyone here for their commitment to serve, even if it is not through military service. I know we have several firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians here tonight that proudly serve their local communities with devotion and dedication as well."

A Marine, soldier, Coast Guardsman, seaman and airman were all recognized by the American Legion for their selfless efforts.

"Those recognized here by the American Legion have gone above and beyond their calling for service and have truly devoted themselves to their communities," said Kosinski. "No one asked them or ordered them to do so, they did so out of the kindness of their heart. That is one of the reasons I was so inspired to speak here tonight."

Welch, true to her nature, gave all the kudos to her kids.

"Receiving the spirit of service award to me was a symbol of recognition, not really for me personally, but for my girls, these fantastic kids in foster care," said Welch. "I retire next June, and my fondest hope is that I can inspire other military members to open their hearts and homes to foster care. The need is so great, even within our own military community."

July 28, 2016 at 10:13am

No-notice EDRE

Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division board a C-17 Globemaster III July 16, at Pope Army Airfield, N.C. Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin

POPE ARMY AIRFIELD, N.C. - Airmen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord teamed up with airmen from other Air Mobility Command units to deliver equipment and paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, into Fort Polk, Louisiana, July 17, as part of a no-notice Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise.

The exercise, called Operation Devil Strike, showcased the abilities of Mobility Air Forces and the 82nd Airborne Division to perform a Joint Forcible Entry into a hostile environment on short notice.

Given a very limited amount of time to plan, airmen from JBLM's 62nd Airlift Wing; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Littlerock Air Force Base, Arkansas; Travis Air Force Base, California; Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; and Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, began deploying C-17 Globemaster III and C-130 Hercules aircraft to Pope Army Airfield to begin planning the operation.

Using Pope as the base of operations, the exercise scenario called for a Joint Forcible Entry of Fort Polk, which stood in for the fictional city of Dara Lam, the capital of the fictitious country of Atropia. In the scenario, Dara Lam had been taken over by hostile forces and the government turned to the United States for help.

Prior to beginning the operation, Maj. Gen. Richard D. Clarke, 82nd Airborne Division commanding general, commented on the scale of the operation during his joint mission brief.

"This is the largest (EDRE) I've seen in a long time," said Clarke to the soldiers and airmen attending the brief. "Looking at all those C-17s on the tarmac, if that doesn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, something's wrong."

Addressing the airmen in attendance, Clarke continued, "This is a joint effort. The 82nd's mission is to jump, fight and win, and you guys have made that a reality every single time."

In order to infiltrate the drop zone under the cover of night, Army paratroopers began boarding the C-17 and C-130 aircraft in the late hours July 16, in preparation for the three-hour flight to the airdrop location. Once there, aircrews began dropping their payloads of jumpers and heavy equipment over the target, before heading back to Pope Army Airfield.

All told, a total of 18 aircraft delivered more than 700 paratroopers and heavy equipment to the infiltration site at Fort Polk.

"The mission was a complete success," said Col. David Owens, 62nd Operations Group commander, and the air mission commander for the exercise. "The mission planning cell hit an absolute homerun with little to no sleep.  They were given a problem on day one; within a few days, the solution they provided the Army and our aircrews was safe and executable. That said, the aircrews crushed their part.  The entire team delivered the 82nd on time and on target."

July 29, 2016 at 2:54pm

Airman goes Marines

Master Sgt. Timur Kuzu (foreground), Julius A. Kolb Airman Leadership School commandant, explains course material to students during an ALS lecture July 18, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

Traditionally, airmen who are to be promoted to the rank of staff sergeant must attend six weeks of Airman Leadership School as part of their required professional military education. In addition to ALS, one Team McChord airman recently attended the U.S. Marine Corps Corporals Leadership Course.

In a rare opportunity, Staff Sgt. Nicholas Hurren, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron tactical air control party, graduated June 24, from the two-week Corporals Leadership Course held at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, Washington.

"One of the biggest things I learned was to be adaptive," said Hurren. "I was pessimistic at first, but looking back I wish I had been more optimistic."

The main subject covered in the course was Marine operations, said Hurren. The course also covered the basics of how to move throughout a battlefield, physical conditioning and instruction on how to properly use a sword and guidon.

Being a TACP, Hurren found many of the principles taught in the course useful in his career field.

"I learned decisiveness and that you aren't always going to make the right decision," said Hurren. "You have to be confident with the decisions you make and own up to them."

Because Hurren had graduated ALS the month prior to the course, he said it helped prepare him for the challenges ahead.

"I feel that ALS helped me gain the knowledge needed for the CLC," said Hurren. "What I learned in ALS was more in-depth, but I was able to easily recall it and apply that knowledge to what I was being taught (at the CLC.)"

Having benefited from the CLC, Hurren said he hopes other airmen also have the same opportunity.

"There is never a part in the training that is negative," said Hurren. "You will always gain something whether it be leadership skills or learning about how we integrate as a joint service to complete the mission."

The initiative to make these professional training opportunities - like CLC - a reality is something that Master Sgt. Timur Kuzu, Julius A. Kolb ALS commandant, says he is passionate about.   

"We all deploy together and we all serve together so why shouldn't we do joint PME," said Kuzu. "We all took the same oath, so we all should be able to attend the same leadership schools."

Although Hurren was the only airman to attend the recent Marine CLC, he did attend the course with a Marine that is now attending ALS.

Cpl. Matthew Nevarez, U.S. Marine Corps Security Forces Battalion, Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, is the first U.S. Marine to attend ALS at JBLM and is slated to graduate in August.

"This course has really required me to have to apply myself," said Nevarez. "Everyone here is trying to better themselves. I feel the same as I would working with fellow Marines."

The experiences airmen and Marines attending these courses receive is invaluable, said Kuzu.

"This is to enhance diversity for students and instructors," said Kuzu. "It's about making more well-rounded servicemembers."

Because of the different coursework taught to students attending ALS, Nevarez will learn in-depth leadership principles and about Air Force requirements for NCOs, said Kuzu.  

"Both courses are designed totally different," said Kuzu. "He is going to gain a new perspective on how to lead and a better understanding of how the Air Force plays a part in accomplishing the mission."

In addition to this Marine, the Julius A. Kolb ALS has also had graduates from the Coast Guard, Navy and Army. ALS regularly works with others services to create opportunities for servicemembers from different branches to attend leadership courses.     

"Being an NCO is a mindset, not a stripe on their arm," said Kuzu. "We are just giving them the tools to develop it." 

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