ALS incorporates a new squadron mentorship program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Breanna Christopher Volkmar
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs

The Airman Leadership School on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam has incorporated a new mentorship program with squadrons. With seven classes a fiscal year, any chosen squadron will have the opportunity to mentor the future Staff Sergeants throughout the duration of their five-week course.

“The sponsorship is a way for squadrons to be involved in shaping the next enlisted leaders, as active mentors for students in ALS,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kurt Schaefer, commandant of the Airman Leadership School.

For ALS class 22-G, the 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron was their squadron mentor. U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Keith Grady, senior enlisted leader with 36 LRS visited the class every week, providing tips for becoming a better leader by sharing his experiences and stories. The class was also given a tour of the 36 LRS facilities, increasing interpersonal and professional partnerships across the base.

“I genuinely think it adds a lot of value to ALS,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shanika Tophia, a biomedical equipment technician with the 36th Healthcare Operations Squadron. “Seeing all those unique missions and how they tie together, I think was really helpful to understand the mission of Andersen Air Force Base and how we play into the larger picture in the INDOPACOM arena.”

Every ALS class is required to complete a community service project and class 22-G chose to clean-up Tanguisson Beach located in Dededo, Guam. The squadron sponsor participates alongside the class building comradery through hard work and collectively building partnerships across Guam.

“It is a privilege to live on this beautiful island, said Schaefer. “Therefore, the students take an active role in caring for the environment and the local community.”
The squadron’s investment into the class has helped Tophia learn from their experiences through stories of times in their careers when they felt like they weren’t quite the leader they knew they could be and how they grew from it.

“Seeing those instances of resiliency shows me that it’s okay not to be the perfect leader all the time, but you can continue to grow and can continue to improve as a leader,” said Tophia.

The new squadron mentorship program helps expose students to individual missions and various job specialties across the base while providing firsthand experiences and can be beneficial to the students as they take on the responsibilities of being a Staff Sergeant.