Keesler ALS, Coast Guard forge a joint environment in excellence

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Devyn Waits
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Four Coast Guardsmen are scheduled to graduate from Airman Leadership School for the first time since 2020 on Feb. 8th, 2024.

ALS teaches leadership skills for service members who enter the non-commissioned officer tier.

“ALS is a five-week class that emphasizes leadership and supervision,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Anthony Romano, Airman Leadership School instructor. “It is mainly for senior airmen who need to become staff sergeants. We emphasize the critical thinking skills needed to be a good supervisor and it is also our hope to make the Air Force better with good supervisors.”

Headquarters Air Force has always pushed for creating a joint environment, but networking between local branches and base leadership led to more Coast Guardsmen being integrated into ALS here on base.

“To get the Coast Guard in our class, we had to reach out,” said Romano. “Between connections I had with our joint branch partners and help from the ALS commandant and the wing command chief, we were able to advocate for them to come here and train with us.”

Learning in an inclusive environment has showed the Coast Guardsmen and Airmen the advantage of multiple branches working together.

“It’s not just about doing the Air Force mission but about integrating with the other branches’ missions to make them stronger,” said Romano. “When you think about it, it's just like with normal people. If you want to do a job, it’ll take four hours to finish if you do it alone. Bring someone in, and the job will take two or three hours. Now the amount of time and effort it takes to get something done is decreased. That same thing is seen when joint forces are working together.”

ALS has provided leadership training for the Coast Guardsmen, preparing them for the fleet.

“At a young rank you're expected to lead," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathaniel Hoppes, Coast Guard Cutter Axe machinery technician. “You're expected to get jobs done and get them done effectively. The class is an eye opener to everything and anything that you would ever see in your career. When you return to the fleet, you won't be shocked when you approach a difficult situation because you've already been taught skills to handle it.”

Preparing service members for leadership in diverse environments is critical because the nation’s adversaries are becoming more diverse in their own tactics. When all branches of service are prepared to lead together, they contribute to forging a stronger force across the U.S. military.