Satellite Airman Leadership School
By Staff Sgt. Michael Touchette, 120th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 01, 2014
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Ten Senior Airmen from the 120th Airlift Wing and the 219th RED HORSE Squadron are attending the second satellite Airman Leadership School class put on by the Montana Air National Guard at the RED HORSE facility at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana.
The class began April 26 and is held only on weekends. It features two-way video conferencing technology to allow Montana Guardsmen to interact with their teachers located at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Tennessee.
The entire class consists of 248 students, the largest ALS class in history, spread out around the country at 20 satellite locations.
"We are unique because we have two-way video," said Senior Master Sgt. Tiffany Franklin, 120th Force Support Squadron development superintendent. "That's why we came out here this year - so they can also see us."
In addition to the instructors in Tennessee, each location has a facilitator. The MANG has four qualified facilitators who take turns in the classroom; Senior Master Sgt. Tiffany Franklin, Master Sgt. Dennis Dadej, Tech. Sgt. Tammy Wajer and Tech. Sgt. Steven Jager.
The MANG gets only seven seats per year at Malmstrom's in-residence ALS course, far less than the number of guardsmen needing the course.
"The satellite course is to supplement those in-residence seats," said Franklin.
The course is all encompassing and counts for in-residence credit. There is no requirement to complete a Career Development Course prior to taking the course.
"About half of these Airmen have taken the CDC and failed it twice and they are frustrated," Franklin said.
"CDCs are really good if you are more of a memorization learner, but if you're more of a visual or auditory learner this is definitely the way to go," said Senior Airman Jennifer Cowhick, a student from the 219th RHS.
"I tried the CDC and I think this is a lot better because I get more hands-on, more involved and you get to meet new people," said Senior Airman Taran Dixon, a student in the class from the 120th Airlift Wing's fire department. "I'm glad I'm doing this instead of going back to the CDC."
The class is composed of a variety of Guardsmen; four from the 219th RHS and six from the 120th AW who get to share their different perspectives with the group.
"We get the guys down here from the 120th and the 219th together to take the class on leadership and get to know one another," Cowhick said. "I don't think any of us knew each other before."
The course is designed to develop Airmen into effective front-line supervisors and focuses on developing leadership abilities, the profession of arms, and building effective communication.
"We've learned a lot about the different types of learning styles; how to look at a subordinate and understand how he learns or how he perceives information and how we can adapt to get across to them," said Senior Airman Taylor Mader, 219th RHS.
"The instructors are really good," said Dixon. "Master Sgt. Dadej and Senior Master Sgt. Franklin have been really helpful through the whole thing."