ALS Class 17A produces 16 future front-line supervisors

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Sixteen Vance senior airmen graduated Airman Leadership School in Class 17A Nov. 9 during a ceremony at the Vance Collocated Club.

Senior Airman Lizzette Kriner, 3rd Flying Training Squadron, was named the John L. Levitow Award winner, the top recognition given to enlisted professional military education graduates.

Senior Airman James Atwell, 71st Force Support Squadron, received the Distinguished Graduate award.

Senior Airman Christina Kamka, 71st Medical Operations Squadron, received the Commandant Award.

Senior Airman Willard Sonday, 71st Operations Support Squadron, received the Academic Award.

Senior Airman Scott Dillon, 71st Security Forces Squadron, received the Sharp Image recognition.

Also graduating in Class 17A were Senior Airmen Steven Alderman, 71st SFS; Matthew Andrus, 71st OSS; Erik Barrera, 71st SFS; Dustin Brannan, 71st OSS; Kyle Curran, 71st OSS; Joshua Daggett, 71st Installation Support Squadron; Toni Greka, 71st MDOS; Dejaun Harris, 71st FSS; Chase Kelly, 71st OSS; Shiela Kilpatrick, 71st MDOS; and Zachary Paskovitch, 71st ISS.

The graduation ceremony featured Chief Master Sgt. Brandon Knight, the 71st Security Forces Squadron security forces manager, as the guest speaker. He spoke to the graduates about the importance of “Excellence in all we do.”

Knight told a story about a football coach and his team:

“A coach asked his players who could jump the highest and the players pointed toward one of the wide receivers. The coach asked that player, ‘How high can you jump?’

“The player said, ‘I can jump about 40 inches.’ The coach then pointed to a low bar and asked the player to jump over it. The receiver barely cleared the bar.

“The coach said, ‘Thank you. You have this amazing ability. You can jump 40 inches into the air. Why did you just barely clear that bar?’ The player said, ‘Coach that is all you asked me to do.’”

Knight shared the football story to explain to Vance’s newest supervisors the importance of setting a high bar for subordinates, encouraging them to jump as high as they can.

“To have an impact in our Air Force career, and to be able to pull the potential out of our Airmen to give us the 110 percent we ask of them; we need to raise that bar up, just a little bit higher,” said Knight.

Airman Leadership School is the first step in professional military education enlisted Airmen take on their way to becoming NCOs. Most Airmen who attend ALS are staff sergeant selects who will sew on their stripes in the coming months.

During the course, students learn how to write enlisted performance reports, supervise Airmen, and write positive and negative counseling statements.

Airmen also practice marching in formation and calling commands. For many, this is the first time they have done close-order drill since graduating from technical school.

Vance hosts two ALS classes a year with instructors who travel from Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma.