VOLK FIELD, Wis. - A group of Wisconsin Air National Guardsmen graduated April 24 from the inaugural State Enlisted Development Program at Volk Field Air National Guard Base.
Command Chief Master Sgt. Gregory A. Cullen, the Wisconsin Air National Guard's senior enlisted leader, said the program development began after he received an inquiry from Chief Master Sgt. Chad Gibson, 128th Air Refueling Wing human resource advisor, about combining the Wisconsin unit development programs.
"Prior the State Enlisted Development Course, each unit had their own program," Cullen said. "It was our goal to develop a curriculum they could all use."
The working group that came together during the planning portion of the program included subject matter experts and senior non-commissioned officers who volunteered to share their knowledge. Once the curriculum was developed, teachers were selected at each unit to run the courses.
For phase one of the program, Airmen were required to complete eight out of 12 classes during their unit training assembly weekends. Once they met that initial requirement, they qualified for phase two.
"It definitely took a lot of time out of our schedules," said Staff Sgt. Amanda Dickenson, 115th Fighter Wing command post controller. "The support we received from our supervisor allowed three out of the nine of us to meet the requirements necessary to attend this three-day event."
The phase two, three-day event included classes on customs and courtesies, drill and ceremonies, feedback workshops, profession of arms, open ranks and writing exercises. The classes were the final conclusion of coursework Airmen in attendance began in May 2013.
The course allowed Airmen from different Wisconsin units a chance to learn from each other and meet people they wouldn't have normally spoken with.
"We don't always get to see many faces from around the base," Dickenson said. "It was a great way to get out and network. The instructors provided us with knowledge necessary to become strong and effective Air National Guard leaders."
The 21 attendees graduated immediately following their completion of phase 2. The graduates' family members were invited to attend a short ceremony that included an overview of the program, a speech by Brig. Gen. Gary L. Ebben, assistant adjutant general for Air, and the awards distribution.
"It's been a true team effort," Cullen said. "These Airmen are an asset to the Wisconsin Air National Guard. I couldn't be more proud right now - not only of the students but the teachers, too."
The next classes are scheduled to begin during the May unit training assembly.