Air Force classrooms open for Coast Guardsmen

by Airman 1st Class David Carbajal
3rd Wing Public Affairs

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska – Some students attending the Elmendorf Professional Military Education center wear a different shade of blue … U.S. Coast Guard blue.

Two Coast Guard members are enrolled in the Elmendorf NCO Academy while three other guardsmen are in Airman Leadership School. They are set to graduate Dec. 13 with the 88 Airmen in the classes.

Due to an active agreement between Chief Master Sgt. Tim Kenney, Elmendorf PME commandant, and the Coast Guard’s District 17 Command Master Chief Terry Vanderwerf, seats are offered to the Coast Guard on a space available basis.

While attending the class, Coast Guard students are placed on temporary duty status and reside in base lodging until graduation.

With only 1,500 guardsmen in Alaska, the Coast Guard does not have a PME or equivalent instruction for E-4s through E-6s, but does offer a week-long mobile leadership and management training course to those who can attend.

Due to the difference between the two services, PME instructors addressed several obstacles on teaching someone outside the Air Force.

“It is the instructors’ responsibility to monitor the class and recognize when a student doesn’t understand a word, an acronym, an idea or a concept throughout the curriculum,” said Chief Kenney. “This responsibility is even greater when a member of another service is within the flight.”

Additionally, the students are encouraged to exchange ideas and information about what they do.

“Air Force students brief how their jobs benefit airpower, the Coast Guard students brief how their jobs benefit the mission of the Coast Guard,” Chief Kenney said.

The PME staff also considered the differences in customs and courtesies, and likewise for the Coast Guardsmen.

“This class gives us the opportunity to understand and respect the diversity of the two branches,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Hanson, one of three guardsmen in the ALS class. Petty Officer Hanson is a marine science technician based out of USCG Sector Juneau.

All the guardsmen attending PME agree they are benefiting from this experience. Each said they plan to take leadership skills learned here and apply them back at their home stations.

With the joint fight in mind, the PME leaders are trying to think of other ways to bring the sister services to each other to include possible exchanges with the Army.

PME instructors are equipping the guardsmen with the same knowledge and skills that Airmen receive, enabling them to be better managers, supervisors, and leaders, said Chief Kenney.

“I believe this is building a solid relationship and spirit of cooperation and it has been a two-way street,” Chief Kenney said. “I also believe the success of this exchange will, in the future, lead to cooperation, sharing and understanding well beyond the walls of PME.”

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Perry Clement and Senior Airman Emily Burgess, Airman Leadership School students, look at some of the curriculum at the Elmendorf Professional Military Education Center Nov. 29. Petty Officer Clement is a machinery technician for District 17. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class David Carbajal)

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Perry Clement and Senior Airman Emily Burgess, Airman Leadership School students, look at some of the curriculum at the Elmendorf Professional Military Education Center Nov. 29. Petty Officer Clement is a machinery technician for District 17.

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class David Carbajal

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