NFL labor organization director shares insight at AFDW Squadron Commander and Spouse Orientation Course 

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Amaani Lyle
  • Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs

As part of ongoing efforts to convey leadership principles, Air Force District of Washington tapped into its partnership with the executive director of the National Football League Players Association to mentor and advise attendees at the 2019 AFDW Squadron Commander and Spouse Orientation Course. 

Unanimously elected in 2009, DeMaurice Smith has had a major role in representing NFL professional American football players and helping to negotiate terms of collective bargaining agreements.

During his guest speaker presentation to field grade officers primed to take command of various squadrons, Smith described the power of good communication, team building, and management in the context of disorder. He compared the complexities of advocating for the NFL's roughly 2,000 players to some of the triumphs and challenges commanders will face in balancing the needs of Airmen with mission necessities. He also noted the source of support spouses can bring as commanders mature into their leadership roles. 

In gratitude for his candid advice and time, AFDW commander Maj. Gen. James A. Jacobson presented Smith with a customized Air Force Academy football jersey bearing the number 47, representing 1947, the year the Air Force entered into its own branch of service from the Army Air Corps. 

Smith noted that though he's amassed many jerseys from professional players over the years, this is one is special to him. 

"I have some very cool jerseys, but this is one of the best I've ever seen," Smith said.

The five-day immersive course wrapped today and AFDW hosts a course with new commanders and spouses each year.