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407 AEG hosts joint professional enhancement course

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Clinton Atkins
  • 407th Air Expeditionary Group
Airmen, Sailors, Marines and a Soldier gathered in the deployment processing center at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia for two days of joint professional development Nov. 27-28.

The event was created by the base’s E-5 and E-6 professional organization, the Red Tails 5/6, and was designed to offer servicemembers a continuation of learning in a deployed environment.

“We put on this Junior Enlisted Professional Enhancement Course in order to provide a forum for our junior enlisted to develop themselves as leaders and build on their resiliency skills in a joint environment,” said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Lester, 407 AEG Sexual Assault Prevention and Response lead victim advocate and a co-coordinator for JEPEC. “We feel this was especially important to deliver in our deployed environment due to the increased work tempo and likelihood of being placed in new roles.”

Throughout the course, the attendees learned team building, mentoring and counseling, resiliency, enlisted force structure, personnel programs, time management and stress management. The event also marks the first of its kind at the 407th Air Expeditionary Group.

Lester said many of the service members who were in attendance are currently on their first deployment and the first time in a joint environment. “We wanted to build on that and really give them a forum to learn and grow together.”

Tech. Sgt. Ollie Bradley, 407th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron Personnel Support for Contingency Operations team chief and Red Tails 5/6 president, said it’s courses like JEPEC that allow junior enlisted members focus on enhancing their careers and gives them tools to do it.

“What I really want our junior enlisted members to understand is that the level of success they’re going to achieve in their careers heavily depends on the amount of effort and energy they put into their own development,” he said. “I always tell others the term 'service before self' doesn't mean service instead of self. Sometimes we need to take a step back from what we have going on and really focus on ourselves. JEPEC really provided that opportunity.”

Bradley said he hopes the key takeaways for junior enlisted service members, as well as the instructors, from the experience are the importance of professional development and understanding their sister services.

“Joint training is rare and we have a unique environment to take advantage of every opportunity during this deployment,” he said.

The instructors received positive feedback from the attendance, and given the success of the first JEPEC, the instructors and coordinators and planning to improve the next joint course.

“Due to the large interest, we will definitely hold more in the future,” Lester said.