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Ahmed Al Jaber Airmen take home USMC PME awards

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mozer O. Da Cunha
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing

Two Airmen from the 407th Expeditionary Support Squadron and 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron were given the unique opportunity to join Marines attending a United States Marine Corps corporal's course as students Nov. 1 - 14, 2019, at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait.


The corporal’s course, hosted by Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Command Element, is a 14-day formal training event comparable to the Air Force Airman Leadership School. The course is normally provided to only Marine corporals to prepare them for leadership as they progress to the next rank. However, the course was also made available to qualified Airmen participants also stationed at the air base.


Senior Airman Nathan Davis, 407th ESPTS explosive ordnance disposal flight technician, and Senior Airman Adin Misner, 386th ECS client system technician, not only took the challenge by enrolling, but also brought back to their units the top two awards that can be earned by participants in the course.

Misner, a Hattiesburg, Mississippi native, deployed from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, and Davis, a Greenbrier, West Virginia native, deployed from Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, were two of six Airmen out of the 53 participating in the course.


“The purpose of the class is to build young leaders,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Jeff Graham, SPMAGTF command element instructor. “The students are newly-promoted noncommissioned officers and the only real leadership examples they had is what they have experienced in their offices back in their units. If the examples being set are not that great or if they only worked in one area of operation, they might not understand different types of leadership, so the corporal’s course is a way to open their eyes to different ways to being leaders and help them grow as service members.”


One of the unique aspects of the USMC Misner and Davis learned about was that Marines pick up the status of NCO one paygrade lower than Airmen. While Marines are already in supervisory positions as corporals, Airmen must attend ALS first.


Not only did the course teach leadership skills but it also taught participants drill, discipline and teamwork.


“For me, it was interesting to see how the Marines operate,” Davis said. “It was challenging having to learn Marine Corps doctrine. Everything from their promotion system to how they fight wars was all-new material to me and it required a lot of time to sit and read through all of the content they had provided.”


“I wanted to learn something new so I dedicated myself as best as I could,” Davis added. “I was excited to learn and become a more well-rounded Airman. On the first day of the course, the commandant said ‘it’s only two weeks—go all in.’”


Davis’ investment in learning both the course material and overall performance paid off during graduation.  He received the academic award for earning the highest grade-point average in the course.


The academic award is one of two awards students can earn at the end of the course.


Graham attributed focus, flexibility and adaptability to Davis’ ability to achieve the highest overall grade in the class.


“In order to excel as service members we need to be adaptable,” Graham said. “It’s my opinion that Davis was quick to do that from the beginning. I believe that a lot of his ability to quickly adapt comes from EOD school. He showed that he can adjust very well to any kind of environment. It’s my belief that his flexibility was why he was able to excel academically in the corporals' course.”


While Davis earned his award based on his academic performance, the only other award given is centered on exhibiting the most motivation and espirit de corps. The “Gung-Ho” award is based on peer evaluation and the students are the ones that choose the recipient. That honor was given to Misner.


“The class decided that Misner had come from just this quiet, nervous Airman to this outgoing, loud and proud service member incorporating the spirit of a Marine,” Graham said. “During the evolution of the course, his teammates definitely took notice of that.”


 “When Misner came out of his shell his teammates saw how willing and acceptable he was,” Graham added. “He was able to hop in and to take pride in his squad. I strongly believe that is what made his classmates vote for him.”


Joint service participation in the class gives a unique perspective to the students and instructors attending.


“The Marines participating in the course can learn from the Airmen just as much as the Airmen can learn from the Marines,” Graham said. “Experiences brought by other services can definitely help all of the students to become more effective, well-rounded leaders. The course is there to open up different ideas of leadership to these young NCOs. Bringing in different branches to the school absolutely gives students different perspectives and a chance for growth.”


“One good example I can think of involves Davis. He never raises his voice, but if he does something, by God people will follow him,” Graham added.


Misner shared his main take away from his experiences during the course.


“I learned how to be more confident in myself,” Misner said. “I went into the course very timid and my experiences with my teammates during the course helped me find my voice.”


After completing the course, Davis shared his take away from what they learned.


“When it comes to leadership, the most important thing I learned was that as NCOs and leaders, we need to take care of our people, no matter the branch of the military. Being a leader is more than just issuing orders, commands and reprimands. Being a leader requires caring for and developing those you lead,” he said.


Davis added that, although he is not sure how Marines conduct day-to-day operations, he believes his participation in the course does provide him a window into their world, earning him the opportunity to communicate more effectively with his fellow service members to get the mission done.