Sometimes there are things in life that happen to you that are so unexpected that you fail to comprehend their inherent value. Such was the case for me in my assignment to Officer Training School.
OTS was an assignment that I was not expecting and had entirely no interest in; however, since arriving at Maxwell more than two years ago, this duty has proven to be the assignment I never knew I needed.
What’s so special about Officer Training School? As an OTS instructor, you are truly challenged to become a better officer. As it turns out, many of the same traits expected of a good leader, such as enthusiasm, patience, confidence and empathy, are some of the same traits exhibited by highly effective instructors. The abundant amount of interaction with adult learners provides a near-constant feedback loop that the instructor can then utilize to refine old patterns of behavior and sharpen leadership skills.
Let’s consider the aspect of communication. There seems to be a natural human tendency for us to think of ourselves as sufficient communicators; however, this is often an incredibly naive assumption. Directly leading a flight of 16 cadets from sunup to sundown will quickly highlight any shortcomings in your methods of communication. This deliberate focus on precise, confident speech is something that lies at the foundation of being a leader. Subordinates, peers and supervisors alike thrive on clearly thought out communication and intent. It is not enough to simply understand the importance of precise speech, you must practice this skill just like any other.
What I’ve come to realize as a flight commander that isn’t self-evident is that when it comes to sharpening your ability to connect with people in meaningful and productive ways, you really have to pay attention. Making the conscious effort to do things like being more attentive to people and more precise in your speech begins to create the habit of metacognition, that is, thinking about how you think. This is how you can begin to slowly influence those micro habits of your own personal leadership into becoming more effective. The fast-paced daily routine of a flight commander forces the examination of those inefficient or ineffective leadership habits. In this environment, the shortcomings of your unconscious habits rear their loathsome heads and demand immediate attention.
It’s important to remember that as a flight commander, a significant part of your duties involve teaching, and the foundation of teaching is centered on developing a relationship with each person in the room, albeit a brief one. On the face of it, it may seem as though the activity of guiding a discussion or teaching a lecture is a one-way flow of information, but this is definitely not the case. If you allow yourself to explore the material at hand using the knowledge and experience of a flight of students, you, the flight commander, have the potential to learn just as much, if not more than your students from the abundance of teaching and mentoring interactions.
In a sea of deliberately designed chaos, the pressure of performance is equally felt as an instructor; the difference in outcome is determined by how seriously you shoulder the full weight of responsibility that comes with modeling the ideal officer. Due to the nature of your position as flight commander, cadets typically have extremely high expectations of you. This heavy expectation to perform has the potential to amplify the motivation of the individual flight commander in a way that pushes you to want to be better. With this responsibility comes great reward, for you are truly affecting more individual change than you will ever imagine, and you’re doing it by simply paying attention to how you handle yourself as an officer.
Being a flight commander has allowed me the time to improve in areas such as public speaking, articulated thought and speech, time management, increased openness to creative on-the-fly leadership, peer leadership, defining repeatable processes, conflict resolution, counseling and delivering clear expectations. It also has allowed me to understand the tremendous value of individual and team goals.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be a flight commander at OTS as it has provided me with the perfect environment to sharpen critical leadership skills while at the same time allowing for the possibility to make an immediate and lasting positive impact on hundreds of future Air Force officers. We all have areas we can improve when it comes to leadership; the catharsis takes place when we boldly peer into the abyss and decide to face our shortcomings. This is where true change takes place.
Welcome to Officer Training School
Colonel Jayson L. Allen
Leadership in today’s profession of arms is as dynamic and challenging as anytime in our history. As we move on from more than 13 years of war into a more transient and destabilized global security environment, leadership across the services will be challenged with exciting some of the most complex and yet lightly resourced strategies that we have seen in this century or the last. If our officer corps loses focus on our core qualifications, we will be unable to meet these challenges in the long term. In this tumultuous environment, it is imperative that we understand that nation states rise and fall on the moral character of their people and leaders. Our military’s health and effectiveness is dependent upon the moral character of its leaders.
In order to ensure that America remains a city on a hill and a beacon of hope to other nations and generations, our leaders must, first and foremost be leaders of moral character. “Metal on the ramp” and technological advances can never replace this intangible quality. Only when our Airmen are confident that their leader have moral character can we ensure the environment of respect, dignity and honor necessary to truly enjoy the benefits of diversity, innovation, and resiliency that have made us the world’s most respected and greatest Air Force. When moral character is paramount, our core values flourish and become second nature. OTS focuses on three fundamental objectives: producing Leaders of Moral Character, Officer Education and Training, and Developing and Supporting our People. This builds upon the Holm Center Strategic Plan of building tomorrow’s leaders.
The three squadrons below are integral in accomplishing the OTS mission: Produce Leaders of Moral Character.
Always with Honor!
Welcome to the 22d Training Support Squadron (22 TRSS)!
Lt Col Tanisha J. Saunders
The 22nd TRSS team provides a full range of training support for Officer Training School (OTS) for over 2.4K cadets annually. This support includes full complement of personnel services, physical fitness training and testing by Physical Conditioning Instructors (PCI), medical training and support by Independent Duty Medical Technicians (IDMT), expeditionary leadership training and support by Field Training Instructors (FTI), as well as a full complement of information technology and supply services. Expert facility support is also provided to maintain our $78 million OTS complex on Maxwell AFB near Montgomery, AL, as well as a 200-acre expeditionary leadership training site located near Titus, AL.
Please be aware that OTS falls under the Holm Center and Air University. As a result, our orderly room is located within the Holm Center in Bldg. 836, and not on the OTS complex. In addition, we receive Traffic Management Office and Finance support through the 42d ABW located in Bldg. 804. Upon arrival, coordinate with your sponsor for check-in at the OTS complex first, and then proceed with in-processing.
Please see the following links for further assistance:
Welcome to the Double Deuce Team!
Welcome to the 24th Training Squadron (24 TRS)!
Lt Col Ben C. Bergren
Welcome to Officer Training School (OTS), this will be a very demanding but rewarding assignment. There are a few things to be aware of as you prepare to in process. First, OTS falls under the Holm Center and AU. As a result, our orderly room is located at the Holm Center in building 836 located at 551 East Maxwell Boulevard and NOT on the OTS complex. In addition, we receive TMO and Finance support through the 42d ABW located in building 804. Coordinate with your sponsor to check-in at the OTS complex first and then you can proceed with in-processing.
New flight commanders can expect to receive three months of training once in-processing is complete in order to become a certified instructor. This training is comprised of the Academic Instructor Course (AIC), Instructor Qualification Training (IQT), and Mission Qualification Training (MQT). Additionally you may receive training as an Air Force combatives instructor.
Please see the following links for further assistance:
Welcome to the 24th Team!
Welcome to the 217th Training Squadron (217 TRS) !
Lt Col Michael R. Loy
Our team provides world class training that includes both flight room and field activities designed to produce leaders who are committed to the Air Force Core Values and are equipped to lead and ready to win! This will be a demanding but rewarding assignment. There are a few things to be aware of as you prepare to in process. First, Officer Training School (OTS) falls under the Holm Center and AU. As a result, our orderly room is located at the Holm Center in building 836 located at 551 East Maxwell Boulevard and NOT on the OTS complex. In addition, we receive TMO and Finance support through the 42d ABW located in building 804. Coordinate with your sponsor to check-in at the OTS complex first and then you can proceed with in-processing.
New instructors can expect to receive three months of training once in-processing is complete in order to become a certified instructor. This training is comprised of the Academic Instructor Course (AIC), Instructor Qualification Training (IQT), and Mission Qualification Training (MQT). Additionally you may receive training as an Air Force combative instructor and a high ropes facilitator.
Welcome to the 217th Team!