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Squadron of the Week: NCO Academy

Master Sgt. Pricila Thomas, NCO academy acting-first sergeant works at her desk at Paul W. Airey NCOA Feb. 18, 2016. The NCOA coordinates with bases across the U.S. to bring active duty, Guard, and Reserve Airmen to Tyndall to learn how to manage and lead innovative enlisted troops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

Master Sgt. Pricila Thomas, NCO academy acting-first sergeant works at her desk at Paul W. Airey NCOA Feb. 18, 2016. The NCOA coordinates with bases across the U.S. to bring active duty, Guard, and Reserve Airmen to Tyndall to learn how to manage and lead innovative enlisted troops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

Master Sgt. Rob Compton, Paul W. Airey NCO Academy instructor, teaches a class on leadership and how to give guidance to junior Airmen.  The instructors at NCOA are specifically selected to guide NCOs on the proper leadership path.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

Master Sgt. Rob Compton, Paul W. Airey NCO Academy instructor, teaches a class on leadership and how to give guidance to junior Airmen. The instructors at NCOA are specifically selected to guide NCOs on the proper leadership path. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cody R. Miller/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- -- Leadership is a vital skill that drives any organization.  The Airmen at the Paul W. Airey NCO Academy help instill this quality into technical sergeants who enroll there.

The NCOA has been selected as squadron of the week for its role in educating NCOs of not only Tyndall Air Force Base, but also from bases across the Air Force, to include active duty, Guard, and reserve.

The mission of the NCOA is to educate NCOs on how to manage and lead Airmen. The instructors provide a conducive learning environment where NCO's learn the curriculum senior leadership has deemed necessary, but also how to network with other NCOs to develop insightful solutions to potential problems.

"The Air University commander has charged us with developing enlisted airpower leaders for the American military," said Senior Master Sgt. Angela Stovall, director of education at NCOA. "We meet this charge by delivering 176 hours of curriculum classes to each class spanning four areas including the managerial communicator, unit manager, operational Airman, and military professional core competencies.  We hold deliberate conversations aimed at addressing four character traits that all leaders must have: humility, nobility, courage, and compassion."

The academy is made up of four divisions: faculty development, test and analysis, communications, and profession of arms. The faculty development division is responsible for instructor training and qualifications. The test and analysis division oversees and monitors the testing and trend data used to gauge instructor effectiveness and to ensure the best teaching methods are being used. The communications division coordinates and trains staff on both writing and briefing assignments.  Finally, the profession of arms division trains students on Air Force culture and heritage events; this includes reveille, retreat and inspections.

"All these components are important and cumulate to accomplish our most vital mission of educating and training our NCOs to manage and guide the Airmen in the total force," Stovall said.

Accomplishing a mission for the total force can be a daunting logistics task for any squadron and the NCOA accomplishes this mission with just 22 personnel.

"It can be a challenge to coordinate with all the different Airmen that come here," said Master Sgt. Pricilla Thomas, NCOA acting-first sergeant. "We have to coordinate with their home squadrons from all over the United States to make sure the Guard, reserve, and active duty Airmen all get what they need to study at our school.  It's a challenge, but we make it work and it can be very rewarding."

Despite these challenges, academy instructors are able to complete this essential mission of training the Air Forces NCOs.  

"This is one of the most rewarding jobs in the Air Force," Stovall said. "Not only does our staff teach the 16 students in their flight, but they also learn so much from those very same students. 

"Our staff is able to expand their view of the way our Air Force operates across all Air Force specialty codes, and then share their knowledge with their future students," Stovall said. "When you talk to our staff members, it's never about them; it's about them sharing information and helping NCOs see why they are a crucial component to us being the best Air Force in the world. When you work with such humble and amazing people, you want to work every day."