AFDW hosts inaugural class of SELs during Squadron Leadership Course

  • Published
  • By Jasmyne Ferber, AFDW Public Affairs

For the first time, senior enlisted leaders participated alongside their incoming squadron commanders during the Air Force District of Washington’s Squadron Leadership Course, April 15-19, 2024, at the Jacob E. Smart Conference Center.

The weeklong course prepared field grade officers for their upcoming leadership roles within the various squadrons under AFDW.

To kick off the course, AFDW Commander Maj. Gen. Daniel A. DeVoe and Command Chief Master Sgt. Charmaine Kelley greeted 20 squadron commanders and SELs from around the Air Force and shared anecdotes about their family life and career progression.

“This is your support network,” DeVoe said. “As you come in as squadron leadership teams…it will get kind of challenging at times. You will need to reach out and depend on somebody, and it is going to be these other people in this room.”

During the course, attendees received a variety of briefings on topics such as diversity, equity and inclusion, culture and policy training regarding Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, how public affairs can benefit their command team, information on ceremonies and protocol, civilian force development and the great power competition.

While this is not her first time serving as an SEL, Senior Master Sgt. Kendra Anthony, incoming SEL for the Surgical Operations Squadron, said this course was phenomenal because it gave her the opportunity to meet her incoming commander and build a relationship before heading to her new unit.

“We’ve already been talking about ways to improve our unit,” Anthony said. “Because of this, there is no getting to know each other or downtime when he comes in. I feel like it will be seamless.”

In addition to the briefings, attendees sat in on various panels including the Washington Nationals’ Frontline Forum featuring their executive team.

Panel Moderator Sean Hudson, director of Military Affairs for the Nationals, said professional development opportunities are one of the many ways the Nationals strive to work with the Department of Defense.

“With Frontline Forums, front office staff from the Nationals can provide perspective on recruitment and retention, cultivating a healthy work environment and fostering morale,” Hudson said. “It also provides an opportunity for Nationals employees to lean from and interact with service members.”

Maj. Samantha Davies, incoming commander for the 11th Force Support Squadron at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, noted a common theme that resonated throughout the course – connectedness.

“Every speaker in every topic, regardless of the topic, has reinforced that concept,” Davies said. “It’s really important to highlight how important taking care of people really is and that the mission will be accomplished as long as you’re focusing on the Airmen.”