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Accepting the challenge

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
(This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

Deploying overseas as a security forces member for the first time can be a daunting experience for a young Airman with less than two years of service in the Air Force.

However, Airman 1st Class Colby Morin, a 66th Security Forces Squadron member , relished the opportunity to take on a new challenge. He volunteered to attend the U.S. Marine Corps’ Lance Corporal Seminar shortly after arriving to his deployed location in Southeast Asia.

“The five-day seminar was an opportunity for me to grow professionally and learn more about the Marine Corps, whom we were working side-by-side with providing security at the installation,” said Morin, who grew up in Barre, Massachusetts.

The goal of the seminar for Marine Corps E-3s is to enhance small unit leadership and ensure a better understanding of Marine Corps ethos, leadership fundamentals and the total Marine concept. The seminar is unit-run by the organization’s command sergeant major or senior enlisted advisor.

“The course was extremely beneficial because instead of having to wait two-and-a-half years to go to Airman Leadership School, I was able to complete a course very similar to ALS before many of my peers,” Morin said, who recently returned from his deployment.

Morin was the only SFS member to volunteer for the course.

“If we aren't effective leaders who possess good leadership qualities and traits, we can't lead the Airmen behind us,” he said. “This class improved my leadership abilities and better prepared me to become the Airman the Air Force wants and needs.”

Prior to attending the seminar, those attending complete the online course, “Leading Marines.” The course and seminar are prerequisites for promotion to corporal.

Chief Master Sgt. Carl Oestmann, who was Morin’s deployed SFS manager, lauded Morin for accepting the challenge in an email to Chief Master Sgt. Scott Pepper, the 66th SFS superintendent.

“The Marines for the first time invited (Air Force) E-3s to participate in their Lance Corporal Seminar,” the chief wrote. “Not only was he (Morin) removed from shift for these days to learn and broaden his perspective, he went beyond other Airmen by completing five Marine Corps online tests before the course began.”

Morin encourages others to take on similar joint professional military education opportunities.

“It was a great opportunity to learn more about our mission partners and how they perform the mission at home and while deployed,” he said. “There was a lot of information sharing between us that was beneficial to everyone involved.”

Morin’s supervisor at Hanscom Air Force Base was not surprised to learn he accepted the challenge to broaden himself while deployed.

“He is a go-getter and if there is a mountain to climb, he'll be the first one to attack it,” said Staff Sgt. Cody S. Hoffman, the 66 SFS Bravo Flight element leader.

By attending the course and providing feedback to his deployed unit leadership, Morin was able to influence decision makers on whether other Airmen will attend the seminar at that location in the future.

“His feedback was valuable in us assessing having future ESFS (Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron) Airmen attend,” Oestmann said.

The course included Marine Corps-led physical training and a long run with the local sergeant major on graduation day.

A two-time SFS Airman of the Quarter and the 66th Air Base Group Airman of the Quarter last October, Morin spoke about how the seminar broke down barriers between the young service members.

“In addition to attending the seminar and having an opportunity to change any misconceptions they might have had about the Air Force, we served right alongside them securing the base,” he said. “I think through it all they had newfound respect for the Air Force and what we bring to the fight.”