By Phil Berube, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published October 08, 2019
The U.S. Air Force First Sergeant Academy transferred to Air University’s Ira C. Eaker Center for Leadership Development effective Oct. 1, 2019. While the First Sergeant Academy will remain on Maxwell Air Force Base’s Gunter Annex, the organizational transfer positions the Eaker Center as the go-to source for comprehensive leadership development and education. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)
An Air University center has firmly established itself as the go-to source for comprehensive Air Force-wide leadership education with the acquisition of a senior enlisted development program.
The U.S. Air Force First Sergeant Academy transferred to the Ira C. Eaker Center for Leadership Development from the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education, effective Oct. 1.
Realigning the Academy under the Eaker Center better positions it and Air University to support the Air Force Chief of Staff’s strategic focus on squadron revitalization and strengthening squadron leadership teams.
While the First Sergeant Academy will remain on Maxwell’s Gunter Annex, the organizational transfer joins it with the Eaker Center’s other leadership-focused programs, such as the Commanders’ Professional Development School, Leader Development Course for Squadron Command, Air University Leadership Institute and the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence.
“We’re excited to welcome the academy to the Eaker family,” Col. Terri Jones, Eaker Center commander said. “First sergeants are a critical piece of the squadron leadership team, supporting their commanders and Airmen in ways only they can. The addition will ensure our ability to serve as the central focal point for Air Force-wide leadership development education as we reorganize and assume our role as the Center for Leadership Development.”
For the First Sergeant Academy, being on the Eaker Center team provides avenues for adding senior enlisted perspectives to officer and civilian leadership-development education programs. The Eaker Center will create a new directorate to focus on and elevate enterprise-wide civilian leadership development.
“By us being together, our officers and senior civilians will have a better understanding of what our senior enlisted leaders bring to the fight, and vice versa,” Chief Master Sgt. Nathaniel Perry, First Sergeant Academy commandant said. “I think this is going to be a huge win for both enlisted and officer leadership education and development.”
The First Sergeant Academy graduates more than 600 total-force first sergeants annually through its four-week classes. The Academy, staffed by 12 total-force Airmen, first convened at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, in 1973 and moved to Air University’s Ira C. Eaker College for Professional Development in 1993. In 2008, it was transferred to the Barnes Center, which had just been renamed from the College for Enlisted Professional Military Education.