MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. --
The Air National Guard’s training and education center in East Tennessee has scheduled a super-sized Airman Leadership School class, starting in early July and running through the first week of August, with hopes to graduate hundreds of Airmen across the nation.
Airmen should work with their supervisors as soon as possible to attend the class being held here at the Chief Master Sergeant Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center.
At any given time a good number of Senior Airmen are eligible for in-resident ALS, but leaders with the Air Guard's Readiness Center and EPME Center said that Airmen and their supervisors might not realize class availability and its advantages.
“Airmen that complete the in-resident option of EPME are more equipped to handle the challenges we face because they gained the skills and built the network that will make the difference,” said Chief Master Sgt. Sherry R. Marnell, the Air Guard's chief of Training and Development.
Leaders also addressed a misconception that “quotas” exist on the number of Airmen that a unit or Wing can send to ALS. They do not.
“Seats are available, so leaders should take careful consideration to communicate that with their eligible Airmen as soon as possible so that they can plan to attend,” said Chief Master Sgt. Winfield Hinkley, the EPME Center commandant.
Chief Hinkley said that the campus has capacity at any given time to hold ALS and NCO academy concurrently. A super-sized ALS takes advantage of available classroom space during the annual downtime of the six-week in-resident NCOA. The break is scheduled to increase seats for ALS, which is advantageous to drill status guardsmen who might expect summer break from colleges.
The EPME Center expects to graduate more than 266 Airmen from the active duty, Guard and Reserve. It is among the largest classes known across all 68 ALSs worldwide.
Chief Hinkley said that the school would accomplish this feat with additional manning. Assisting instructors are arriving from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, Nellis AFB in Nevada, Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota, and Offutt AFB in Nebraska.
In-resident ALS is a five-week course that prepares Senior Airmen for positions of greater responsibility by providing leadership skills required of supervisors and reporting officials. It is an Airman's first level and experience in Air Force EPME.
Chief Hinkley pointed out that ALS is not only beneficial to junior Airmen, but it is also "vital to overall end strength."
A recent analysis by the Commandant -- of retention numbers during a five year period -- indicated that 92 percent of Airmen are more likely to reenlist if they graduated in-resident EPME, compared to just 77 percent of those who reenlist without it.
“But what we don’t want is for Airmen to miss this opportunity to go to in-resident ALS, as well as earn college credits toward their Community College of the Air Force degrees,” Chief Hinkley said.
“If you have eligible Airmen, please send them to us for EPME this summer, as we stand ready to develop our Airmen for the missions of tomorrow,” Chief Hinkley said.