Dyess hosts first Flight Commander’s Course

Dyess hosts first Flight Commander’s Course

Attendees pose for a group photo upon the completion of the Flight Commander’s Course at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Oct. 26, 2017. The first-ever course offered at Dyess was designed to help prepare young officers for their new roles and responsibilities and equip them with the necessary skills and abilities to serve as officers-in-charge and flight commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Katherine Miller)

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 7th Bomb Wing hosted a four-day Flight Commander’s Course for the first time here, Oct. 23 – 26, 2017. The course was designed to help prepare company grade officers for their new roles and responsibilities and equip them with the necessary skills and abilities to serve as officers in charge and flight commanders.

The course was developed by members of the 7th BW leadership in hopes to give these officers a better understanding of how to lead their flights and ensure their success as leaders.

“This course is designed to provide the knowledge, practical experience, self-improvement tools, and senior member perspectives needed to become a successful flight commander in Air Force Global Strike Command,” said Col. Brandon Parker, 7th Bomb Wing commander. “The skills learned through this program teach new flight commander the technical aspects of their first formal leadership role as well as the professional and leadership qualities that are essential to this specific position. The Flight Commander’s Course places heavy emphasis on discussions between peers and with senior mentors to accomplish all program objectives.”

Company grade officers often begin their careers as officers in charge or flight commanders of enlisted personnel. Officers receive their commission in one of three ways: the United States Air Force Academy, Officer Training School or by attending AFROTC in college. During their training, officers learn the basics of leadership and their respective jobs. However, the Flight Commander’s Course offered a more in-depth understanding of leadership values and styles, self-development, mentorship, roles and responsibilities of officers and history and heritage.

“After basic and functional training, officers wait years to attend Squadron Officer School, Intermediate Developmental Education and Senior Developmental Education, but during those years, Airmen hit major milestones to lead Airmen and run flights,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Ottinger, 7th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “We owe better training on a deliberate continuum of learning to better set them up for success. With more formal training, there is less learning by trial and error, which should lead to more effective leaders who can hit the ground running once they get in the flight commander job,” said Ottinger.”

Beginning in January of 2018, the four-day course will be available three to four times per year for young officers to attend. Until then, Dyess leadership will continue offering the course as developmental tests to ensure officers get the most they can out of the course and its content.

“The 7th BW just offered this course for the first time,” said Parker. “Since this is a great opportunity for our young officers and a high emphasis item for AFGSC and the 7th BW, we plan on offering this course many times in 2018. The intent is to hold this course several times per year.”

Those in attendance found the course to be very informative, enlightening and successful.

“I enjoyed being able to chat with my fellow company grade officers about similar and dissimilar issues we have in our flight and units,” said 2d Lt. Chelsea Hazen, 9th Bomb Squadron assistant officer in charge. “This course has helped me in my leadership role and is a great course for young officers and can set them on the right path to be effective leaders and managers.”