Home > ASBC, The Journey > Week 5 (Combined Ops)

Week 5 (Combined Ops)

I apologize for this being a couple days late (I seem to always get wrapped up in something.) I’ll definitely have to  get better about writing in this blog in the future. But anyways, here is week five and my favorite week here at ASBC.

Week 5 is pretty different when it comes to the other weeks at ASBC. We do a lot of the same stuff in a sense (briefings, Icarus, etc) but our flights are different. (I don’t think I’ve ever explained what a “flight” in the Air Force is, but think of it as a platoon like the army.) My flight (Gryphon Flight 810) has 13 people, all of which are 2d Lts (some have 1st Lts and even a couple Captains.) During Combined Ops we are combined with the SNCO Academy (Senior Non-Commissioned Officer) Academy. This Academy is where Master Sgts/Senior Master Sgt go for training to be a SNCO. These are people that have generally been in 16 years or more, as most are about to sew on Senior Master Sgt. These people are the backbone of the Air Force and are really your go to leadership in the ranks. As a fresh 2d Lt I am a higher rank, but that doesn’t mean that these individuals will respect me, or that I’ll even make the best decision (because as a fresh LT you probably wont.) This combined ops week is to get us in a flight with 6 or 7 senior NCOs and for us (the LTs) to interact with them like we would our normal flight.

Since my step-father was a Technical Sgt in the Air Force I definitely had a perspective of what the enlisted side was like before I ever became an officer. I went into this already knowing that these individuals, and people like them with that rank, deserve respect and mainly for you to go to them for advice on what to do. A SNCO can really make or break your first assignment. You can act like you know everything as a LT and try to boss people around, or you can go to this senior enlisted leader and rely on them for advice and input on what is the best route. They have given a large portion of their lives to the Air Force, and they really do bleed blue. They care about the Air Force more than you can probably understand, so they are here to help you. Some LTs don’t get this concept, but it’s changed more as time goes on (especially if we get training like this during combined ops.) This give us a chance to interact with the SNCO’s and see how they “tick” as well as giving them a chance to see how we “tick.”

I really have to say that I loved this portion of ASBC. My combined flight was awesome, and one of the SNCO’s was actually from the Terre Haute, IN guard unit (how crazy is that considering I’m FROM there.) The Terre Haute guard unit is what I grew up around and is what initially got me into wanting to join the Air Force (of course with the help of my step-dad Martin.) It gave me a little more perspective also, because this woman was 52 (i’m 22.) She joined the Guard well before I was even born, and here I am a higher rank than her. She gave me a coffee mug from the Guard Base on the last day, which really meant a lot to me…It’s the first thing I’ve received as a gift, and it means even more to me considering it’s from the place that got me started in this great Air Force.

The other five SNCO’s were also fantastic, I really have to say that I’m impressed with their professionalism and their performance during this time. Here we are 22/23 years old being called “Sir” by people we grew up calling Sir/Ma’am. Again, it’s surreal.  One of them made me smile on the last day when he gave us all a salute because he enjoyed his time with us so much. Another SNCO was a really big PC gamer, so he and I hit it off.

During Combined Ops we did some classroom stuff, but what I enjoyed most was the perspective exchange and the values discussion. During the perspective exchange the LT’s asked the SNCO’s questions and vice-versa, so we really got a chance to see what they thought about things. The “value exchange” section was probably the best as we were asked as a group questions like “Do you believe the military should allow Gay’s?” And we had to either Agree, Agree with Reservations, Disagree with Reservations, or Disagree and then put ourselves in the respective area in the room. It was always interesting to see the distribution for the questions and most of them were kind of shocking. For instance, only LTs (people my age) were the ones against gay’s in the military…I thought that was crazy, I thought it would have fallen the other way. I also found it interesting how all of these people backed up their beliefs, while I always took the neutral route, because I never made any of these judgments on my personal belief alone. Maybe that’s my political science side, but I’ve never believed that what I may believe is always the only and best way. For instance just because I think something isn’t the way it should be doesn’t mean it should be changed based on one group’s beliefs or feelings. But that’s a blog within itself.

For those of you coming to ASBC, look forward to this section of the course…It was awesome. I wish that the entire course could have been six weeks of this…I really enjoyed it that much.

I just finished our “deployment” phase and the last three days of instruction…Graduation is tomorrow, so a new blog should be up around Monday or so (I’ll be driving this weekend to Del Rio, TX) I just hope the hurricane doesn’t interfere. I’m going to enjoy my little bit of time to travel and go for a little vacation though.

Until Next time! I’m now going to go out to dinner with my flight for the last time =(.

Categories: ASBC, The Journey
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