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News | March 8, 2024

Flight Leadership Orientation Course: Fostering leadership and collaboration at JBAB

By Airman 1st Class Bill Guilliam 11th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, Washington, D.C. – Coming from the heart of the National Capital Region in Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, the Flight Leadership Orientation Course (FLOC) is shaping the future of Air Force leadership by providing a platform for diverse perspectives and experiences.

This course, similar to other flight commander courses throughout the Air Force, is designed to equip flight commanders and chiefs with the tools they need to excel in their roles.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Brett Ober, flight commander for the 11th Comptroller Squadron, is one of the facilitators of FLOC. He helped organize and run the latest version of the course.

"The best part is hearing a lot of different perspectives,” said Ober, “I would say in the approach to leadership, just hearing from security forces, civil engineers, and pilots, was pretty eye opening. Seeing that there's not one style of leadership that everyone can follow. There's many different paths and you need to find what works for your team."

The course is not just about theory; it's about practical application and networking.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Bryan Anderson, flight commander at 11th Security Forces Squadron, noted, "One of the most helpful things I learned from it was getting the supporting agencies on base who came and spoke to us about their various roles, whether that was the Military and Family Life Counseling or Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, or any of the other agencies on base that support all of us in our various missions. Learning from them is very helpful for me."

Networking is another critical element of the course, enabling participants to forge connections with peers from different organizations. This network helps in providing a support system to aid their airmen effectively.

"One of the big takeaways for me, as a senior non-commissioned officer, is being able to connect with your peers from different organizations,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Louis Phan, flight chief of cyber operations at 690th Intelligence Support Squadron. “I think that's the biggest part of being a senior NCO, to have a wide network to be able to help out your airmen."

Phan mentioned that before he took the course, he was trying to figure out the nuances of being a flight chief. The course provided him with a lot of tools that he can use to better utilize day to day.

JBAB’s location in the NCR adds a unique dimension to the course.

“We got a lot of different people from different units, different wings, and different backgrounds coming together,” said Ober. “FLOC has people from the Air Force, Space Force, Army, a lot of civilians as well. The experience really drives home the jointness of being in the DC area.”

Taking care of people is a core theme throughout the course. Participants are reminded that the essence of any mission or unit is the well-being and capability of their personnel.

"The most important thing of any mission or any unit regardless of what you're doing day to day is taking care of people,” said Anderson. “Making sure that the people you lead are capable of doing what's required of them and that they are doing good in their personal life. So, courses like this provide opportunities to see ways to do that through different lenses.”

The FLOC addresses a gap in Professional Military Education (PME) for flight commanders and chiefs, providing them with essential tools and knowledge that may not be covered at the Air Force level. This focus on filling the PME blind spot is a significant aspect of the course. The course is not just a traditional classroom setting. It's an interactive experience where participants bring their own experiences, discuss, and learn from subject matter experts as well as their peers.

"It's important for people to realize that this isn't a class where you just get talked to for hours,” said Anderson. “It's the purpose of the class is to bring your experiences and to discuss as well as learn from subject matter experts, and to share the experiences that you've had and learn from the experiences of a diverse group of students that you're here with, and to network and build relationships with them in addition to learning in a classroom setting.”

The course's impact extends beyond the classroom, with word of mouth playing a significant role in its spread. "So there has been a lot of spread just from just talking to people,” mentioned Ober. “An attendee will send it out to 10 people, who will send it out to 20 more people and so on. That tells us people really love it based off the feedback that we've gotten from previous courses too.”

The success of the course hinges on the coordinated efforts of multiple organizations. Coordination is facilitated through the Commander’s Action Group, ensuring that each course iteration involves a new set of facilitators. Essential contributors include the Bolling Club, the chapel, and a diverse group of volunteer instructors from various branches and organizations.

In conclusion, the Flight Leadership Orientation Course is a testament to JBAB’s commitment to developing well-rounded, effective leaders. Through its comprehensive curriculum, emphasis on networking, and focus on taking care of people, the FLOC is shaping the future of military leadership, one flight commander at a time.