Command senior enlisted leaders attend European Air Forces Conference

  • Published
  • By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deanna C. Gonzales, Defense Media Activity Europe/Africa

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa along with NATO Allied Air Command hosted senior enlisted leaders from across Europe at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 21-22, for the first biennial European Air Forces Senior Enlisted Leader Conference, a seminar designed to help enhance personal growth, increase interoperability and build partnership capacity.

Approximately 22 participants from 19 countries, including the United States, discussed readiness, professional military education, process improvement, recruitment, retention and force resilience. These attributes enabled them to combine their knowledge and experience to enhance the interoperability of command senior enlisted leaders.

“The main focus for this conference is command senior enlisted leader reflection,” said Warrant Officer Jake Alpert, NATO Allied Air Commandcommand senior enlisted leader. “It’s about how we lead our forces and about looking at our own resilience. When we talk about resilience, we tell people how to live their lives, but we don’t demonstrate it, so it’s important that we look at ourselves and communicate that.”

The theme for this year is “The 21st Century CSEL: Establishing the Future.”

“To be a CSEL in the 21st century and do things differently, we have to find creative ways to do it,” said Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Easton, USAFE - AFAFRICA command chief. “We want to make sure that we are challenging our Airmen and that we are using them and their innovative minds and talents, and using the technology we have to make sure that we continue to be the greatest Air Forces for our nations that we can be.”

Along with leadership reflection, another focus of the conference was building relationships and working closely with our NATO allies and partners for peace.

“We are living next to each other in Europe and we are dealing with almost the same problems, and maybe I have a solution, maybe someone else has a solution to their problem that helps, so to be connected, to have a peer that I can call on, that is what is important,” said Chief Master Sgt. Zsolt Berek, chief master sergeant of the Hungarian Air Force.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for people to get together, but the most important thing is it’s about creating that network as well because we all have different challenges as we move forward in the future,” Alpert said.

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright hosts a worldwide Senior Enlisted Leader International Summit every other year and the European Air Forces Senior Enlisted Leader Conference is expected to meet in the off year to provide more frequency of training and focus more on European issues.