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Air Force, coalition partners team for first deployed SNCOLC

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, speaks to graduates of the senior non-commissioned officer leadership course Nov. 3, 2018, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. The course provided attendees the opportunity to explore in-depth communications, trust, teamwork and leadership proficiencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, speaks to graduates of the senior noncommissioned officer leadership course Nov. 3, 2018, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. The course provided attendees the opportunity to explore in-depth communications, trust, teamwork and leadership proficiencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Airmen from the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing and coalition partners from three different countries recently completed the first ever deployed senior noncommissioned officer leadership course.

The 16-hour professional military education course, instructed by Chief Master Sgt. Chad Welch, 386th AEW command chief, marked the first time the SNCOLC was hosted in a deployed environment, and the first time it has ever been offered to coalition partners.

The course provided attendees the opportunity to explore in-depth communications, trust, teamwork and leadership proficiencies. Welch said while the mission will always come first, there is always room to grow, even in a deployed environment.

SNCOLC is usually hosted by and provided to members of Air Force Reserve Command. Welch, who served as the 932nd Airlift Wing command chief at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, said the contents of the course are rewarding for attendees of all components and countries – not just reserve Airmen.

“This is the perfect PME to host in this environment,” Welch said. “The class took only two days to complete, and the participants completed the class in addition to their busy work schedules. Beyond the lessons learned in the course itself, SNCOLC enhances our relationships with our coalition partners – which will yield dividends long after we leave the classroom.”

The dividends Welch mentioned include the increased SNCO network at this location, which will ensure the class is able tomore effectively complete the mission when collaborating with coalition partners. He also said this multi-national network only serves to augment the 386th AEW mission, and by extension, the Air Force’s mission.

“More than anything, this class is about building and fostering partnerships,” Welch said. “The main inspiration for hosting this course here was the fact we work with our coalition partners daily, but don’t often get the opportunity to network and learn together. The success of a class often hinges on the students’ energy, and these students were amazing. I am excited to see what their future holds.”

The students weren’t the only ones who learned something during the course, however. Welch, a former PME instructor, said the cadre learned from the international students themselves, allowing them to grow as facilitators.

“Having coalition partners as students is an exciting experience,” he said. “While the methods of learning are different between individuals, the difference between countries is a different animal. Luckily, while the languages of the students differed, the course material was universal. We were able to roll with the punches and successfully complete the course.”

Welch went on to say hosting the first iteration of SNCOLC is just the first step, and he hopes to host more classes like this in the future, as long as the mission allows it.

One of the coalition partners who graduated the class was Canadian Armed Forces Warrant Officer Patrick Power. He said the class provided valuable insight to the Air Force’s senior enlisted mindset; something he plans on sharing with his peers.

“This course was very interesting and a pleasure to be a part of,” Power said. “The course was informative and it was easy to break the ice with all our partners. I thoroughly enjoyed participating with coalition members. It was definitely a positive experience and I will take the lessons I have learned and apply them when I return home. All coalition forces would benefit from the course – the teamwork and coaching would be beneficial to any participant.”

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