Gathering the tools to lead

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Omari Bernard
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base hosted its first Squadron Superintendent Course for approximately a dozen senior noncommissioned officers, March 11 through 14. Senior NCOs from different squadrons under the 18th Wing attended the two-and-a-half-day course to develop themselves for future or current roles as superintendents.

The intent of the course was to give the senior NCOs the training they need to perform the role of squadron superintendent. During the course, attendees received briefings from agencies across the wing on topics that can be used as tools to help perform the duties of the squadron superintendent.

“In the Air Force, we consistently talk about training and giving our Airmen the skills, tools and resources, they need to do their jobs,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, 18th Wing Command Chief. “‘Airman’ includes all of us. As we go through the ranks, we all still need development. We expect a lot from our senior enlisted leaders in the Air Force – we put a weight on their shoulders and a lot of responsibility in taking care of our Airmen.”

This course is meant to give superintendents hands on training and the physical connections they need to better advise the commander and lead their Airmen as well as ease into their new role.

With this course, students had access to panels of experienced commanders, first sergeants, and chiefs, whereas in the past superintendents had to rely on personal experiences, book guidance, Air Force Instructions, Professional Military Education knowledge and learning as new situations arose in order to fulfill their duties.

“The superintendent’s role is vital to the success of an organization,” said Chief Master Sgt. Melissa Royster, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron material management flight chief. “We like to call it a triad. You have the commander, the first sergeant and the superintendent. That relationship is extremely important. The superintendent, alongside the shirt, have the pulse of the people that work for the commander.”

The role of the superintendent is to support the vision of the organization and commander, Royster explained. Building a relationship of trust and open communication between the commander, superintendent and first sergeant is key to accomplishing the mission.

Thanks to this course, students from across the installation now have a new network of peers to share their experiences, lessons and advice with. Those in attendance can find value in the lessons they learned and leave the course more informed about handling the position of squadron superintendent.

“None of us had this before when we took the position of superintendent,” Ditore recalled. “This program is meant to help future superintendents understand the resources available to them and we want to give them the skills they need to become valuable parts of their command team and lead our Airmen as we expect them to.”