Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

July 29, 2016 at 11:54am

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

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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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