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AETC conducts first-ever squadron command team course

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Education and Training Command conducted its first-ever Squadron Command Team and Spouses Course April 10-13, 2018, with 45 current or incoming commanders, 15 superintendents and 29 spouses participating in the new program.

The participation of squadron superintendents and their spouses is new to the course and is a reflection of AETC’s focus on strengthening and supporting team leadership at the squadron level.

“AETC is leading the way in ensuring our superintendents at the squadron level are exposed to the same level of rigorous preparation and knowledge as their commanders, so together as a team they can better lead successful squadrons,” said Chief Master Sgt. Juliet Gudgel, command chief of AETC.

During the four-day course, commanders, superintendents and spouses received AETC leadership guidance and also learned about various topics from mentorship, to how to handle tragedies, to operational security and social media, and more.

According to Senior Master Sgt. Scott Jessup, superintendent of the 306th Flying Training Group at the U.S. Air Force Academy, participating in the training helps superintendents build a shared foundation for working together with their commanders.

“This course is a great opportunity for superintendents and commanders to come together, be put on the same page, and be ready for that squadron command team relationship,” he said.

Lt. Col. Mark Chang, who will soon assume command of the 315th Training Squadron at Goodfellow Air Force Base, agrees that the course is beneficial to establish a team mindset between commanders and superintendents.

“I think it is giving me a leg up to meet my team far in advance of actually taking command and establishing not only a rapport, but a great foundation for that entire team concept,” he said. “It’s important that both the senior enlisted advisor and the commander hear the same level of information – no surprises, no secrets – because again it’s that team concept.”

Spouses of both commanders and superintendents participated in a majority of the course sessions, emphasizing the important role that spouses play in squadrons.

“I think including commanders’ and superintendents’ spouses is a great initiative because not only is it what’s going on at work but it’s also what’s going on at home,” Chang said. “A great example is the key spouses’ program – to make sure that all folks in the squadron are taken care of.”

While the course for both squadron commanders and superintendents is currently one of a kind, squadron leaders like Jessup who participated in the course believe that the concept would benefit other commands and units across the Air Force.

“I would highly encourage other commands who are looking at adopting a joint squadron commander and superintendent course to take advantage of the possibility,” Jessup said. “This is, I feel, a great opportunity for senior enlisted to come and be represented –and representing – with their commanders, putting us all on the same page and starting the relationship off right. I really feel this course is long overdue.”

AETC will offer three more Squadron Command Team and Spouses Courses in 2018, with a total of 142 commanders and 85 superintendents projected to participate. Lessons learned through the AETC-level course will be shared with Air University, as AU develops an Air Force-level squadron leadership program for future implementation across the Air Force.

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