120th AW members graduate Airman Leadership School
By Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson, 120th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
/ Published March 29, 2016
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Thirty-two Airmen completed Airman Leadership School at Malmstrom Air Force Base and participated in the graduation ceremony held at the Grizzly Bend Club and Community Center March 22.
Among the Airmen who completed the course of instruction of ALS class 16-D are two members of the 120th Airlift Wing.
Senior Airman Nikolas Asmussen, a journeyman broadcast journalist assigned to the 120th Wing Headquarters Squadron, and Senior Airman Nicholaus Schwall, a journeyman firefighter assigned to the 120th Civil Engineer Squadron, walked across the stage to receive their diplomas from 120th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Lee Smith.
While attending class Asmussen was assigned to the ALS Peacekeeper Flight. He said he appreciated participating in the hands-on learning methodology offered by the in-residence version of the course.
"It was a very interactive class, which I appreciated," Asmussen said. "We would read about a subject the night before, then have a brief discussion in class and then the rest of the period would be spent actually putting into practice the techniques that we learned."
Schwall, a member of Titan Flight, said the in-residence course also suited his style of learning and would recommend the course to Airmen that may be considering enrolling in the distance learning version of the course.
"I would recommend the in-residence course for other Airmen looking to enroll in ALS," Schwall said. "It's a great way to learn the hands-on part of leadership and it beats just reading a book."
Asmussen said the course covered such subjects as diversity in the workplace, the styles of leadership, and professional writing for noncommissioned officers. His class also participated in the Four Lenses workshop that provided training in determining a person's personality and viewpoint.
During the course the students participated in drill and ceremonies-learning how to control the movement of troops with order and precision and how to participate in formal group activities intended to honor persons or recognize important events.
Asmussen said teamwork was the key to success for the members of ALS class 16-D.
"It was really up to us to review each other's work," Asmussen said. "We would do our own individual work but then get together and trade papers and provide comments on each other's work, and that seemed to work out pretty well."
Schwall added that teamwork created a great opportunity to build friendships and network with his professional Air Force counterparts.
"The thing I enjoyed most about the class was seeing our flight become a strong working team," Schwall said. "I really enjoyed all the people in my flight and was able to make a lot of connects and friends from the class.
Looking back, both graduates considered the class a challenging but satisfying opportunity to increase their leadership knowledge.
"It was a very challenging class," Asmussen said. "There was quite a bit of pressure to get your assignments done well and quickly. We spent eight hours each day in the schoolhouse and then averaged three to four hours of homework every night, so we were very busy the whole time."
"The challenge I faced in class was the amount of work put on you each night," Schwall said. "You would have to do a lot of reading and write a paper or prepare for your speech. Overall, it was challenging-but very manageable if you could use your time well."
Asmussen said one special highlight of the five-week course was a visit by the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody. Chief Cody was on a scheduled business trip to Malmstrom Air Force Base and took time to meet with the Airmen in his class.