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First civilians graduate from Dyess ALS

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Emma Anderson
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Melanie Conant, 7th Maintenance Group secretary, and Zachary Sandefur, 7th Civil Engineering Squadron military housing assistant, were the first two civilians to graduate from the Dyess Airman Leadership School, on Aug. 3, 2023. 

ALS is the first level of professional military education for the Air Force enlisted force. It’s a 24-day program that fosters the growth Airmen need to become supervisors. 

“ALS prepares new supervisors for positions of greater responsibility by strengthening their ability to lead, follow and manage,” said Master Sgt. Kyle Gibson, 7th Force Support Squadron Dyess Airman Leadership School commandant. “The curriculum covers topics like trust, diversity, communication, teams, problem-solving and many other skills leaders need.” 

Teaching government civilians the basics of being a leader in the Air Force not only strengthens the foundation of a lethal and credible force but also enlightens them on their impact to the overall Air Force mission. Dyess ALS’s newest graduates can now bring their leadership knowledge back to their units and promote a higher need for civilian professional education. 
“I think more civilians should experience ALS,” said Sandefur. “I want to help be an advocate for that. I took so many good things away from ALS. I gained friendships, support, and knowledge. It helped improve my all-encompassing knowledge of the military and how to better equip my job to fit the military and its members’ needs.” 

Allowing civilians and Airmen to share their perspectives with each other during class facilitated learning on both sides. Overall, the collaboration between civilians and Airmen builds on the connections and relationships needed to ensure operational success. 

“A lot of the topics we cover in ALS are value-added, regardless of whether someone wears the uniform or not,” said Gibson. “Additionally, since military members move duty stations every few years, civilians provide continuity to units. Offering civilians the opportunity to grow via professional military education will only make the total force team better by preparing civilians to lead.”