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Top 3 Conference, Enlisted leaders go “B2B - 2020”

Honor Guard.  Members of the 169th Fighter Wing and the South Carolina Air National Guard, from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, conducts its first Top 3 Conference in six years.  The focus of this conference was the mentoring of airmen and their professional development.  Instructors from the Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base conducted courses of instruction to the more than 120 senior NCOs in attendace of this three-day conference.  The conference was held at the nearby SC National Guard's McGrady Training Center to minimize travel and conference costs while still maintaining an off-site focus.  
(SCANG photo by SMSgt. Edward Snyder)

Honor Guard. Members of the 169th Fighter Wing and the South Carolina Air National Guard, from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, conducts its first Top 3 Conference in six years. The focus of this conference was the mentoring of airmen and their professional development. Instructors from the Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base conducted courses of instruction to the more than 120 senior NCOs in attendace of this three-day conference. The conference was held at the nearby SC National Guard's McGrady Training Center to minimize travel and conference costs while still maintaining an off-site focus. (SCANG photo by SMSgt. Edward Snyder)

CMSgt Lawrence Crowson, the HQ SCANG Command Chief, discussed leadership initiatives.  Members of the 169th Fighter Wing and the South Carolina Air National Guard, from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, conducts its first Top 3 Conference in six years.  The focus of this conference was the mentoring of airmen and their professional development.  Instructors from the Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base conducted courses of instruction to the more than 120 senior NCOs in attendace of this three-day conference.  The conference was held at the nearby SC National Guard's McGrady Training Center to minimize travel and conference costs while still maintaining an off-site focus.  
(SCANG photo by SMSgt. Edward Snyder)

CMSgt Lawrence Crowson, the HQ SCANG Command Chief, discussed leadership initiatives. Members of the 169th Fighter Wing and the South Carolina Air National Guard, from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, conducts its first Top 3 Conference in six years. The focus of this conference was the mentoring of airmen and their professional development. Instructors from the Paul H. Lankford Enlisted Professional Military Education Center at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base conducted courses of instruction to the more than 120 senior NCOs in attendace of this three-day conference. The conference was held at the nearby SC National Guard's McGrady Training Center to minimize travel and conference costs while still maintaining an off-site focus. (SCANG photo by SMSgt. Edward Snyder)

January, 2012 -- More than 120 non-commissioned officers of the SCANG gathered at the McCrady Training Center in Eastover for a three-day conference in January to discuss the process of creating better relationships between senior and junior NCOs.

The theme of the conference, 'B2B: 2020 Back-to-Basics,' placed great emphasis on getting back to the principles of success, like professional development, mentorship and the feedback program.

SMSgt. Anthony Stovall of the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron served as the master of ceremonies and said the theme was not only for the conference. He explained that the 2020 portion of the theme indicates the need for senior NCOs to capture the next generation and ingrain them with good old-fashioned values.

Wing commander Col. Mike Hudson said, "I look forward to practical leadership and professionalism in my NCOs and officers. The best way to start the professional career of our junior enlistees is to make them a professional in whatever they do in the Air Force, because that is the foundation of our success."

The three-day event encouraged leadership to get more involved in the growth of their younger Airmen by teaching them to use better judgment and remembering to praise them in public and criticize them in private.

SMSgt. Candace Cox of the 169th Medical Group said her team takes this responsibility seriously. She said, "We have been involved in mentorship for a very long time."

The newest Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Col. Calvin Elam, has a unique acronym for mentoring Airmen. "We must demand the BEST - Believe in them, Encourage them, Support them and Trust them."

With the wealth of information received from SCANG's leadership, as well as instructors from the McGhee-Tyson ANG Training and Education Center, attendees learned of various ways to use the 'B-E-S-T' method to accomplish their missions. The instructors informed the attendees of the upcoming changes involving force development, while also stressing the importance of PME.

One of the major changes at the academy is the strength-based leadership program, which will bring a greater focus on individuals' strength and not their weaknesses.

MSgt. Isaac Carr, first sergeant of the Civil Engineering Squadron, said he looks forward to sharing the valuable knowledge gained during the conference with personnel unable to attend. "I enjoyed everything about this event. The speakers were great, and I enjoyed the camaraderie of being with fellow NCO's," he said. "I want to make sure that we are setting and maintaining the standards."

Gen. Patterson said that the mission is still our primary responsibility, and that he expects leadership to take the initiative and to develop trust. He said, "The example you set as a leader becomes the rule for the people who serve below you, because I have found that the organization will normally rise to the level of the Senior NCO's."

"We must remember to recognize the good people who are working hard and giving it all they can," said Patterson. "You, the senior NCO's are right there, and part of your jobs is to recognize them."

MG Robert Livingston, our Adjutant General added that leaders must help our airmen stay focused on taking care of the business of the nation. "We will continue to be under threats, and will have to figure out ways to respond in an economical, yet effective manner," he said.

"The Air Force will review how we can reduce cost, but McEntire is pretty solid as we go through this transition period, however we must remain relevant, ready, resilient and responsible," said Livingston.

A major preparation for those 4-R's is training, and TSgt. Dawn Green, NCOIC of Information Protection with the 169th Security Forces Squadron said, "The training will help us to develop our personnel, and capitalize on their strengths, and I'm excited to take this information back and apply it."

State Command Chief, Larry Crowson said that each of us must be excited in telling our story. "We must tell the Air National Guard story to those we come in contact with," he said. "We should tell them that there are more than 460,000 members in the National Guard, of which, 410,000 are enlisted. There are 107,000 people in the Air National Guard with 93,000 enlisted. McEntire is one of the 19 alert units in the nation, of which 18 Fighter Units belong to the ANG, one of 89 flying units. We also represent 25% of the people in the military, and the guard owns 40% of the airplanes and is 1/3rd the size of the Air Force. However, the most important part is that we do all of this while utilizing only 7% of the overall military budget."

Brig. Gen. Scott Williams, former base commander, said that officers must realize that the enlisted personnel are the ones actually doing the job. So we must flip the pyramid of the organizational structure and support our non-commissioned officers in their efforts.

The McEntire Top Three Association represents all senior non-commissioned officers at the McEntire Joint National Guard base, and is an organization that represents the goal of enhancing military professionalism, development, and quality of life for all enlisted personnel.