Commissioned Officer Training course embraces first JAG instructor

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard
  • 42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) --  (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

Air Force Reserve Capt. Brian Walker 
didn't need to take a leave of absence from the law practice he owns in Fort Worth, Texas, or take the pay cut that goes with it in exchange for a summer in Montgomery, Alabama, where sweat starts pouring down faces like rain trailing down a window during a rain storm. The Reserve captain also didn't need to trade the space of his 50-acre ranch with five horses and crops ready for harvest for a 600-square-foot billeting room.

"It's a sacrifice I wanted to make because I believe that teaching is so important," Walker said. "There are things that I have seen in our Air Force that I think we need to instill in our officer corps that is important to me, so I decided I want to make a sacrifice to be a part of the process of training officers."

Walker is the first judge advocate officer instructor at the Air Force Officer Training School's Commissioned Officer Training, or COT, course.

Walker went through COT five years ago. The course instructors train all pre-commissioned doctors, lawyers and chaplains. At that point, he had been a lawyer for five years with case experience in federal and state courts.

Walker returned to COT to share with his students his experience both as an officer and civilian lawyer.

He didn't; however, reveal his Reserve position to his students until after a few weeks into the five-week course.

"It's funny because we were going over our impressions of him. Some of us were spot-on, but my personal first impression was of him running off the stage and yelling 'Flight get in the room,'" said 2nd Lt. (Dr.) Christina Loyke, a student of Walker's. "We weren't really expecting him to say, 'I just left my civilian law firm to come here and teach, and I'm in the Reserve.'"

She also noted that his professional experience aided class instruction.

"He's very good at presenting everything, especially when we did the military law section, which was a topic that no one had any idea about in our class," Loyke said. "He knows how to teach it in a manner we can understand, rather than just throwing the book at us and saying, 'Okay, learn it.'”

"His personal experiences help us gauge a better understanding of what's going on, and he has a lot of military experience, so he's able to give us both perspectives from civilian work to military work," she said.

While Walker said he wasn't sure if he was ready for the 15-hour days of physical training, teaching and drill-instructing, he was sure that he wanted to make a difference in the Air Force.

"One of the reasons I was zealous about doing this job is being able to instill in our trainees the knowledge that they have the ability to be empowered," he said. "They're officers. By virtue of that commission, they have the duty and the obligation to make decisions, to not be gripped with fear, but to focus on doing the mission and doing it decisively."

Lt. Col. Shannon Juby, the commander of the 23rd Training Squadron, is glad the long hours didn't dissuade him from teaching at COT.

"The bottom line is that diversity amongst the entire Officer Training School staff is highly desired," Juby said. "We work together across the group to provide the best preparation we can for our trainees, regardless of (Air Force specialty code) or component. Captain Walker is a perfect fit to our OTS team and brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the training environment."

Walker returns to ranch life in the first week of August, but he'll be back to teaching COT in a few weeks to give another class his Reserve, judge advocate and civilian law perspectives.