Airmen's Week: Changing the culture of Airmen
By Senior Airman Chip Pons
| Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs | April 19, 2017
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - RANDOLPH, Texas --
Editor’s Note: This is the third in a four-part series highlighting the Airmen’s Week Program and the Military Training Instructors selected to be facilitators of a curriculum striving to inspire professionalism and excellence in the Air Force’s newest Airmen. Tech. Sgt. Alexander Alexander is currently assigned to the 326th Training Squadron as a Military Training Instructor facilitator.
After the completion of Basic Military Training, but before Airmen depart for their various technical training locations lies a relatively new, yet crucial program geared toward the betterment of the Air Force: Airmen’s Week. Airmen’s week is a 31-hour values-based course with a mission to “develop professional, resilient Airmen, inspire by our heritage, committed to the Air Force Core Values and motivated to deliver Airpower for America.”
As the program nears its second anniversary, members of the Airmen’s Week team reflect on the changes they have witnessed and the future of the program.
What has being selected to join the Airmen’s Week team been like for you?
This experience has been extremely challenging and enlightening because you have such an impact on every Airman that comes into the Air Force. Transitioning from being a Military Training Instructor to a facilitator is a challenge because we try to ensure they have every ounce of knowledge and apply it in the classroom.
How do you think Airmen’s Week is benefiting the future of the Air Force?
I think it allows Airmen a chance to display the professionalism they learned during Basic Military Training and enhance it through learning exercises. Additionally, it helps the Air Force as a whole by encouraging Airmen to hold each other to the high standards the service expects of them.
What is the most challenging part of your job? The most rewarding?
The most challenging part is always trying to give more every single day that I show up. These Airmen deserve mentors that aren't just going to tell them what is the right thing to do, but mentors who are examples of the standards that are taught. The most rewarding part is when you see the expressions on their faces when they understand the information.
Do you wish you were able to attend Airmen's Week as a young Airman? Why?
Absolutely! I was never a problem Airman but today we teach Airmen things that I was never taught until I attended Airman Leadership School. Instead of them becoming a noncommissioned officer and saying, "I get it now," we mentor them in a way that they aren't waiting for that moment to eventually come. Today’s Airmen get it before they ever leave for technical training.
In an interview with Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, commander of Air Education and Training Command, he stated that Airmen's Week is "changing the culture of our Air Force starting with our newest Airmen..." Can you speak to that? What does that mean to you?
To me, this means that no matter the amount of service somebody has, we can all learn something from every person we meet. If every Airman that leaves Airmen's Week can positively influence those around him, then the program has already shown its worth. We must instill the values that the Air Force expects in every Airman before they make it to the operational Air Force so there isn't any question as to what the right answer is.