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NCOPES... Another McEntire First

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder
  • 169th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 169th Fighter Wing kicked-off its very first Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Enhancement Seminar (NCOPES) to enhance the professional development of mid-level trainers and supervisors during a three-day program here from October 28-30.

Master Sgt. Jason Bischoff, the 495th Fighter Group/Detachment 157 First Sergeant, said the program was approved by wing leadership to assist junior NCOs with information to help them more effectively supervise Airmen. Master Sgt. Carlos Sullivan, the Shaw Air Force Base Career Assistance Advisor, is responsible for the intermediate professional development for all of Shaw's JNCOs that have been without any Professional Military Education (PME) training for three years or more. He also provided the curriculum and agenda as well as augmented McEntire's instructor pool with seven senior NCOs from Shaw to instruct various blocks of instruction.

Those in attendance were greeted by Col. David Meyer, the 169th Fighter Wing commander, and Col. James McCune, the 495th Fighter Group commander. Each commander offered advice and a personal challenge to all in attendance to take full advantage of the NCOPES to improve themselves and their unit. The Airmen also heard from Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Shepherd, the 169th Fighter Wing command chief, along with Chief Master Sgt. Charles Mills, the 20th Fighter Wing command chief, and Chief Master Sgt. Darrel Ford, the 495th Fighter Group command chief, who provided insight into the important role junior NCOs play in the day-to-day lives of all Airmen.

More than 40 junior NCOs attended with a service span of six to 12 years of service, representing nearly every function of the base. More than half the class was active duty Airmen from nearby Shaw AFB. The intent with integrating Shaw AFB airmen was aimed at the possibility of the attendees to be a part of a total force integrated (TFI) unit at some point in their career.

"During the three-days of mentoring, these NCOs received instruction reinforcing many of the subjects they learned during Airman Leadership School, and went more in depth from what they learned from the NCO Academy," said Bischoff.

These subjects included AFI 36-2618 - The Enlisted Force Structure, AFI 1-1 - Air Force Standards, G.I. Bill benefits, tuition assistance and commander's vision. Developing networking relationships among the junior NCO corps was another important objective of the McEntire NCOPES.

"This course reminded me of how important it is to gain some knowledge on many topics and then be able to communicate that information both up and down the chain of command," said Staff Sgt. Roger McKay, a weapons loader from the 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

"Hearing how other people dealt with different situations can only prepare you more for what you might come across as a supervisor and trainer," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Furman, an equipment manager for the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron. "I hope in the future we keep a mix crowd of guard and active [participants]. It gave both components a better understanding for the other, which is important for the TFI movement."

Once the course is evaluated and improved upon from class critiques, it will be proposed to be implemented as a bi-annual event to offer further career development to more Airmen.

"As a whole, the class was very helpful and I am looking forward to putting what I learned into action," said McKay.