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Airmen learn from US military's top leaders

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Luke Hill
  • 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Global Strike Command hosted the annual Striker Stripe, a leadership development conference on Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, May 27-29.

During the conference some of the best and brightest technical and staff sergeants from across AFGSC had the opportunity to develop personal leadership skills and hear from some of the military's top leaders like Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, AFGSC Vice Commander Maj. Gen. Michael Fortney, and Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Alston, the senior enlisted leader for U.S. Strategic Command.

"This conference gives us the big picture of the military," said Tech Sgt. Vernon Russell, a 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. "The conference has shown me how all the pieces fit together in our armed forces and how everyone's job is important."

A major theme throughout the conference was to voice things that need to be heard and to play an active role in making the military better.

"Don't stand on the sidelines, get in the game and make your voices heard," Alston said. "Every time you walk by a disciplinary issue or an injustice, you have just established a new standard. Be the example every day. When you open your mouth, have something profound come out. When you're having a bad day, pretend you're having a good day. When you're by yourself without supervision, do what's right and set the example."

Senior leadership stressed the value of communication between NCOs and their Airmen.

"We can change the military, not with more money, technology or education, but by getting involved with service members on a more personal level," Alston said.

Russell said he plans on improving his leadership skills by getting more involved with his Airmen at Minot.

"I have learned that everybody is different and I have to approach everybody differently. I need to lead them in the way that is effective for them, not necessarily what is effective for me," Russell said.

In addition, senior leadership touched on how important integrity and trust is to all service members, no matter what their rank is.

"Trust is the foundation for whether we do what is ordered of us or not," Cody said. "We have to believe in our leadership and what we are doing is right and important. Always remember when you go home and take off your uniform, and you go to your normal places, do not forget that you're still an Airman. You're a United States Airman until the last day you put on that uniform, and you represent every single one of us."

While Striker Stripe is a useful and unique opportunity for NCOs to learn new leadership skills and ways to accomplish the mission more effectively, the principles and values presented at the conference are things that would benefit all AFGSC Airmen.

Fortney summed up what is expected of all Airmen that are part of AFGSC, "Don't take no and don't let the status quo slow you down."