By Tech. Sgt. Wes Wright
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Thirty company grade officers attended a Flight Commander’s Course hosted by the First Term Airmen’s Center March 22-23.
“The purpose of the course is to prepare future and present flight commanders to be able to successfully run a flight,” said Master Sgt. Janelle Amador, career assistance advisor with the 50th Force Support Squadron. “They need to know things like how to request manning, how a budget works and how to supervise civilians.”
The two-day course covered those topics as well as bullet writing, discipline, communication, conflict resolution and much more.
“Being a flight commander, you have to know a little bit about everything with the goal of eventually knowing a lot about everything,” Amador said. “By coming here, they learn the basics and can then apply them to the specifics.”
The course differs from many panel-based courses offered by the FTAC.
“It’s designed to be very practical and hands on,” Amador said. “While there are leadership themes, it’s more managerial and running the day-to-day functions of a flight.”
First Lt. David Hummer, who will soon be the standardizations and evaluations flight commander for the 4th Space Operations Squadron, attended the course in prepration.
“This course gave me a great overview of what to expect as a flight commander,” Hummer said. “As we move into higher levels of leadership, we are responsible for more and more. There are things that you won’t always be the subject matter expert on, but you will influence them as a leader, so it’s important you understand them.”
Hummer said the course helped him recognize ways he could positively influence his unit.
“One lesson that really helped me was the financial system overview,” he said. “Money drives a lot, so understanding it is critical–things like how to prepare a budget, interfacing with resource advisors and formulating a spend plan.”
Tech. Sgt. Inna Lvova, non-commissioned officer in charge of financial analysis for the 50th Comptroller Squadron, taught the budget portion.
“It’s very important for young leaders to understand different career fields and what role they play,” she said. “It’s the stepping stone for ensuring successful execution of the wing’s budget and future operations.”
Master Sgt. Ryan Laube, base infrastructure flight team chief with the 50th Contracting Squadron, emphasized the importance of seeing the bigger picture during his portion of instruction.
“We sometimes get blinded by the view from our cubicle and forget that there is a bigger mission out there that we all support in one way or another,” he said. “Getting in the trenches with the people on the ground helps to lend a broader perspective to what we do day in and day out.”
Hummer appreciated instructors like Laube helping figure out solutions to specific challenges.
“The instructors were great about answering our unit-specific questions on the fly,” Hummer said. “I think allowing the course material to cure by applying it to real issues has been a strength of the course and I hope they continue to do that.”
According to Amador, the course is primarily geared for new and soon-to-become flight commanders, but new non-commissioned officers in charge and flight chiefs are also welcome.
“Priority seating is given to our eligible company grade officers, but if we have room, we highly encourage new enlisted leaders to attend,” she said.
The next course is tentatively set for October.
“Even if you’re not a flight commander now, you should come because eventually you will be in some sort of leadership position where you’ll need to know this stuff,” Amador said.