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ALS graduate considers future challenges

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Stan Paregien

I was impressed to see our recent crop of Airman Leadership School graduates at Scott Air Force Base.  I asked Senior Airman Haley Merkel, Aerospace Medical Technician from the 932nd Medical Group, her thoughts on some of the latest lines of effort that the Air Force Reserve is concentrating on throughout the coming year.

Line of Effort 1: Prioritize Strategic Depth and Accelerate Readiness: "While in ALS they stressed the importance of both your readiness as well as your troop’s readiness. They ensured that we knew all base resources and how to access them for both us and those we were supervising. As a reservist it is much more difficult to stay on top of both your civilian life as well as your readiness for the Air Force and even harder to do so for your troops that you are in charge of. Stressing the importance of your individual readiness as well as the unit’s readiness is vital because though we are not full time, our mission is equally as critical as the Guard’s as well as Active Duty’s. The Profession of Arms is in place to ensure that all members of the Air Force know that no matter what your AFSC or component is, we all play an important part in the overall mission," said Merkel.

Line of Effort 2: Develop Resilient Leaders.  "In ALS we learned that Resiliency is “One's ability to withstand, recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands.” As Reservists we are constantly fighting an uphill battle of change from month to month. We must learn to stay on top of things in order to not get lost between UTA’s and we are forced to exercise our resiliency because of it. There is a reason the Air Force gave us the Warrior Ethos. Courage, Hardiness of Spirit, and Resiliency. As leaders, we need Courage to be able to withstand the battle, no matter if it is at home or over seas, we need Hardiness of Spirit to push through the battle, and finally, we need Resiliency to be able to bounce back once the fight is over. It is important for us as leaders to show our Airman what it is like to use the Warrior Ethos in order to stay mission ready and capable," she said.

Line of Effort 3: Reform the Organization.

"Before ALS I remember being in basic training and my drill instructor telling us that we all needed to be “Innovative Airmen”. Then in ALS we were taught again that innovation is key to our Air Force growing and improving. From safety to cost effectiveness to time effectiveness, everything can be improved, nothing is perfect. We constantly must be working together to create new and better ways to make the mission safer, time effective, and cost effective. Even in ALS was had an entire section just to cover what waste is in the Air Force and how to prevent it! Like I said before, being a Reservist is an uphill battle of change from month to month. You MUST be open to reform and innovation whether it is from your command or you yourself are helping to change your unit for the better, because if there is not reform, the Air Force stays stagnant and that puts us at risk for no longer being the world’s greatest Air Force," added Merkel.

Congratulation to Senior Airman Merkel and Senior Airman Melissa Estevez, our recent 932nd Airlift Wing graduates.