Davis-Monthan ALS schoolhouse named best in Air Force

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Abbey Rieves
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

The 355th Force Support Squadron’s Chief Master Sgt. Carl E. Beck Airman Leadership School was named the Air Force Airman Leadership School of the Year 2022, Aug. 6, 2023.

Airman Leadership School is professional military education that teaches U.S. Air Force senior airmen (with at least 36 months time-in-service), newly appointed noncommissioned officers and frontline supervisors the necessary skills for a complex global environment. These skills include communication, trust, problem solving, critical thinking and negotiation.

“This education is important because as a military, we can mold staff sergeants for making decisions in big teams,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick Thomas, 355th FSS ALS instructor. “It is up to our NCO corps to instill these skills to the next generation of Airmen.”

Also open to U.S. Space Force and civilian applicants, the schoolhouse deliberately develops students into highly competent frontline supervisors, strengthening the backbone of the armed forces.

“Only 1% of our Nation signs up to do what we do” said Thomas. “So we have to get back to the basics and ensure these standards are upheld.”

In line with the National Defense Strategy, 10 Davis-Monthan ALS instructors cultivate a workforce the nation needs: Airmen who understand complex situations, and think critically.

“I am grateful to be surrounded by an amazing team,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Denney, 355th FSS ALS instructor. “All of the instructors want to create an amazing environment for our students to learn and grow.”

As recipients of an Air Force-level award, these instructors have gone above and beyond the Air Force’s standard of excellence. By partnering with 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), the ALS cadre brought international allies to the schoolhouse, providing tips and tricks to how the U.S. military trains its future NCO corp with professional military education.

An additional factor to their success was obtaining student feedback and implementing the necessary change. The cadre’s deliberate course modifications bolstered their success.

Leading with Air Force values, like excellence, these instructors train more than 600 students annually, allowing a wealth of knowledge and lessons learned to be brought back to the students' home units.

“We are held to a higher standard, in the Profession of Arms,” said Thomas. “The next fight is coming and we need to be ready to go.”