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MacDill ALS: Ready, flexible, innovative

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Shannon Bowman
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- For the warfighter, the ability to adapt and overcome is an essential skill which is taught at the beginning of basic military training and re-emphasized throughout the course of a career.

As the world navigates challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Airmen of the 6th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill Air Force Base are adapting and are ready to do their part to support the mission.

Although many of the Air Force’s education and training courses have been put on hold, the 6th Force Support Squadron’s Airman Leadership School instructor team remains diligent. Their ultimate goal is to ensure that their students will be given the same high quality training they need to join the ranks as Air Force leaders when ALS courses resume.

“The ALS team uses a group chat and three times a week we have video conference meetings,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Orlando, the 6th FSS ALS commandant. “During the video calls we have been doing team development and curriculum training which we use to ensure our staff is on the same page with lesson objectives and learning outcomes.”

Through combined effort and determination, the ALS team has taken the challenge of teleworking and effectively using this time to fine tune lesson plans.

“Having the time to go over each lesson one-by-one together has been phenomenal,” said Tech. Sgt. Shawna Wise, a 6th FSS ALS instructor. “We each see and understand sections differently, and being able to discuss and share our thoughts makes me feel even more confident in our abilities.”

Across the board the members of MacDill’s ALS team agreed that maintaining readiness is imperative to ensure that future ALS students get the same level of training they deserve and opportunities that previous classes have received.

“It is uncertain when we will be able to function with the normalcy we had prior to this pandemic, but it is paramount to continue preparing for the next step,” said Staff Sgt. Sanchez Banks, a 6th FSS ALS instructor. “We must prepare, be ready, flexible and innovative so that we can operate no matter what obstacles we are faced with.”

Even though MacDill’s ALS instruction team has not been working together in the same physical location, they are committed to staying in contact.

“We have all been working on our personal and professional development,” said Staff Sgt. Marissa Nelson. “Through this, we have gotten to know each other on a deeper level and have been able to talk about where we want to be as a team.”

COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented changes, however MacDill’s ALS team has used their skills to adapt, overcome and build bonds between their team. 

“This time has taught me how much I value my team and my job,” said Nelson. “I think only good can come of this situation and I think going into future classes, we are going to be stronger instructors and stronger teammates.”