2014 Leadership Summit
By Lt. Col. Catherine Hutson, 174th Attack Wing
/ Published September 19, 2014
HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Leaders from across Hancock Field joined together on a rainy fall day at Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango for an off-base summit. The day selected was no coincident. Wing Commander, Colonel Greg Semmel, reminded the group to "not forget that today is the 13th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks. We have a lot of years behind us and a lot of folks who have given their lives in the global war
The agenda for the day covered a wide variety of topics from brainstorming the Wing's Objectives for fiscal year 2015 to guest briefings from the New York State Command Chief and members of the Hancock Field Joint Health and Wellness Center. The discussion started with Semmel reviewing the current issues which were outlined by the Air Directorate Field Advisory Council (ADFAC), followed by a message from the Director of the Air National Guard in which he discussed the challenges that the guard will be facing as a result of the 3rd largest drawdown in DoD history. During this discussion, Semmel also mentioned the highlights from the last New York State Air Executive Council.
With the big picture issues in mind, the Vice Wing Commander, Colonel John Balbierer, reviewed the 174th Attack Wing's 2014 accomplishments. Balbierer facilitated a discussion about the wing's focus for next year based on its vision, "Diverse Missions--Every Airman Globally Engaged". Suggestions for objectives included an off-site deployment, recruiting and retention, maintaining the health and wellness of our force, and developing an integrated training and inspection plan.
174th Attack Wing Command Chief Russell Youngs showcased his impressive PowerPoint skills and shared information on Advanced Professional Military Education (PME), Step One and Two opportunities (formerly the Extended Promotion Program or EPP) and the importance of the trips to the wing's launch and recovery site, the Forward Operating Location, and the unit range which are located at Fort Drum. He was joined by New York State Command Chief Richard King who was recently selected as the new Chairman of the Air National Guards Enlisted Field Advisory Council. King talked about the importance of obtaining a Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) degree in order to meet the 1 October 2015 mandate for promotion to Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) and Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt). He stated that, "our highly educated members need to ensure their civilian education is updated through the Base Education and Training office".
Mid-morning, SMSgt Nielsen, rolled out the new Air National Guard Ancillary Training program designed to reduce training requirements to 80%. She reviewed the new Facilitated Learning Modules and Commander Talking Points that will start at Hancock Field in October 2014. She also highlighted the new Expeditionary Skills Training or Rodeo which will involve hands on group training on readiness skills.
The next presentations focused on how the unit can best meet the needs of its service men and women while also learning about the role that SMSgt Sonya Williams, the Human Resource Advisor, plays in helping to make this happen. In addition, the group learned what services Family Readiness, the Wing Director of Psychological Health and the Chaplain's office can offer to commanders and supervisors. The day wrapped up with group commanders briefing their objectives and many accomplishments in 2014.
Finally, SMSgt Williams led approximately 60 officers and enlisted personnel in a team-building communication exercise meant to remind participants that effective communication not only involves talking and listening, it also requires them to recognize that every person processes information that they receive differently.
In closing, Semmel thanked everyone for attending and encouraged them to spread the word on the topics that were discussed and to help airman understand where they fit in the mission.