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First-term CGO course enhances leadership

A close-up of a black female officer gesturing while she talks

U.S. Air Force Capt. Ashlee Stripling, 39th Medical Group executive officer, discusses effective communication techniques during a first-term officer development course at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Jan. 8, 2021. The class went beyond being a competent officer, but also how to be an effective leader of Airmen, addressing topics such as mentorship, enlisted performance reviews and how to work with Non-Commissioned Officers to help foster a positive work environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

Three Airmen huddling close over a table to talk

U.S. Air Force Capt. Lauren Hughes, 39th Air Base Wing chaplain, facilitates a team exercise during a first-term officer development course at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Jan. 8, 2021. The curriculum contained information that was more specific to officers that have served less than five years of service, providing insight on how to do more than just be good in their role specialty, but as a part of the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A female officer stands in-front of a small class of officers, talking to them

U.S. Air Force Capt. Lauren Hughes, 39th Air Base Wing chaplain, teaches a leadership and professional development course for first-term officers at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Jan. 8, 2021. Most professional development and leadership courses at Incirlik are geared towards enlisted Airmen, so a team of experienced officers developed a three-day workshop to help their peers with under five years of service learn about how to advance their careers while maintaining healthy relationships and good communication with Airmen they lead. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

Officers of any rank are expected to be high-caliber leaders and examples for the Airmen and fellow officers. But such skills are rarely innate, and instead company grade officers often learn on the job with a good amount of trial, error and peer review.

 

Seeing an opportunity to offer a development course geared specifically to CGOs, a team proposed, created and held a first-term officer workshops at the Incirlik Air Base Community Center on Feb 8-10, 2021.

 

“I was at a briefing for newcomers to the base and they were talking about the professional development resources for Airmen,” said Capt. Lauren Hughes, 39th Air Base Wing chaplain. “I asked if there were similar resources for company grade officers, they said no, and I said why not? That’s where the idea for this class came from.”

 

The class went beyond being a competent officer by addressing how to be an effective leader of Airmen; discussing topics such as mentorship, enlisted performance reviews and engaging with Non-Commissioned Officers to help foster a positive work environment.

 

“My background is nursing, so I’m used to taking care of a patient’s needs, not the needs of Airmen,” said Capt. Ashlee Stripling, 39th Medical Group executive officer. “I’m attending this class because it addresses things I need to know for my professional career growth, as well as how to develop professional relationships.”

 

Effective communication was a theme throughout the class, focusing on how to present themselves, be aware of personal biases and assumptions, as well as the importance of making connections with teammates at all levels.

 

“I’m here to improve my leadership tool set,” said 1st Lt. Matthew Ramsey, 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron, installation deployment officer. “Officers a lot of the time get put into situations where they need to rely on those around them and aren’t sure how to fit in, so the lessons and talks here help provide ways to break that ice, ask for help and to still be able to effectively lead others at the same time.”

 

The class also contained insight on how to be more than just good at their jobs, but also to have the perspective of how accomplishing their work helps the wing’s mission continue to succeed.

 

“We know that CGOs don’t know everything,” Hughes said. “First term officers may feel they have to do everything themselves, but we hope this class empowers them to support their team’s ability to accomplish their mission, but also how to lean on the abilities of Airmen and more experienced leaders.”

 

For those interested in seeing more CGO development course offerings at Incirlik, contact Capt. Hughes at 676-6441 or email lauren.hughes.2@us.af.mil, for more information.