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ANG hosts 2012 INLEAD symposium

McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Senior enlisted service members from six nations attend training exercises during the 8th annual International NCO Leadership Development Seminar held at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center here, July 12, 2012. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - Senior enlisted service members from six nations attend training exercises during the 8th annual International NCO Leadership Development Seminar held at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center here, July 12, 2012. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kurt Skoglund/Released)

McGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- The camouflage at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center was a little more colorful this week when nearly 40 noncommissioned officers from six countries attended the 8th annual International NCO Leadership Development Seminar, July 8-14.

Enlisted members from Canada, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.S., attended the week-long seminar hosted by the Air National Guard for the International Air Reserve Symposium. IARS is a standing group of countries that participate in forums that discuss issues of common interest to international enlisted reserve forces.

The seminar aims to increase senior NCOs knowledge of the host nation's decision-making models through activities that are focused on exposing interoperability issues to ensure future mission success on the battlefield.

Despite varying languages and customs, discussion forums provided the NCOs the opportunity to learn about similar experiences as leaders and as members of an international coalition force from their global colleagues.

"We work, train and fight in coalition groups," said Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard Christopher Muncy. "No longer are we just the U.S., out there solely with just with our Canadian, British, or Australian comrades...there's a whole lot of other folks within it. So you might as well train the way you're going to go to the fight."

In addition to teaching host nation perspectives, the seminar encouraged leadership dialogue and provided practical techniques to more effectively manage common leadership challenges experienced by NCOs. Topics discussed included conflict management, situational leadership, and leading diverse temperaments.

"I think it's great to have coalition forces together," said Sgt. Darren Edwards, a master chef with the Royal Air Force, in Oxfordshire, U.K. "Being with the different nations, the more nations you get the more you learn to be a stronger force."

By developing an awareness and understanding of organizational behavior, the seminar provided the NCO's the tools to effectively influence junior enlisted individuals' capability to achieve complex mission objectives. The techniques taught at the seminar allow the NCOs to return home and help develop other enlisted members in a positive way.

"Professional development at the enlisted level is important because we learn about each other, said Master Sgt. Eric Bollman, INLEAD course superintendent. "We learn about communication, our differences and similarities. Overall we become a stronger enlisted force by learning from each other."

In addition to leadership techniques, the seminar provided an opportunity for the NCOs to get to know their international counterparts on a personal level.

"For the most part it was a group of 30 to 40 NCOs getting to know each other, building peaceful bonds so they can know and understand each other, said Muncy. "Any time they can learn from us and we can learn them, it helps a lot."

Additional activities included a tour of the 134th Air Refueling facilities, a KC-135 Tanker ride and a visit to the Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tenn.

"As a participant from a very small country, it's an outstanding opportunity to be invited," said Swiss Senior Master Sgt. Erwin Zuger. "It's interesting to find out a lot of things are the same."