Student flight mentors needed
By Staff Sgt. Eric Hamilton , 129th Rescue Wing
/ Published July 28, 2009
MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Perhaps you recently completed your professional military education and pinned staff sergeant rank on. Or maybe you've recently commissioned. One thing all military members have in common is this: We were all once new to the military.
And with that in mind, you might want to hear of an opportunity to put your leadership skills into practice.
"We need more people out there to support the student flight," said Master Sgt. Alan Munro, superintendant of health services for the 129th Medical Group--during the week, that is.
On drill weekends, Sergeant Munro is an entirely different person. He steps out of his career field and draws upon his four years' experience as a Training Instructor at Lackland Air Force Base, he said.
"I'm not trying to introduce and welcome them to the Guard. I'm introducing them to what they can expect at Basic Military Training," Sergeant Munro said. This leaves other non-commissioned officers free to support student flight in more familiar roles of mentoring and integrating these newest Airmen into the wing.
NCOs are needed especially with introducing and reinforcing the new military ideas trainees need to learn: customs and courtesies, drill and ceremonies, and attention to detail, along with wing-specific information needed to help them better support and contribute to the wing. Sergeant Munro added, "There's a lot of memory work to do, like chain-of-command and rank recognition." A good NCO can help keep this information deluge from becoming overwhelming.
Maj. Tanya Lee, officer in charge of personnel and readiness, runs student flight. She said that student flight is the largest that it's ever been, with 18 trainees. "I'd love to have a sharp NCO, maybe a staff sergeant looking for responsibility, who can handle a high-maintenance job," Major Lee said. Preparing for each month's UTA would take a few days prior.
Currently, three or four NCOs volunteer some time on drill weekends, including Sergeant Munro, she said. Ideally, each unit would provide a subject-matter expert to provide a briefing or training.
Major Lee said that other student flight programs she's seen provided inspiration for what's being doing here. And, if you read this month's new "Ask a Trainee" section, you'll see that effort is very appreciated by the student flight.
"This is a great opportunity to learn and practice your skills as a leader," Sergeant Munro said. Whether full-time or traditional, officer or enlisted, you can help.
"If you graduated BMT only six months ago, you know what it's like today. With 19 years' experience, for example, you might have much broader military knowledge, but your BMT memories might be a bit hazy."