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Course develops young officers

Col. Jason Sutton (left), 50th Network Operations Group commander, answers questions from 2nd Lts. Maggie Jones, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, and Spencer Proctor, 2nd Space Operations Squadron, during the Company Grade Officer Professional Enhancement Course Feb. 17-18, 2016, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Twenty-four Schriever CGOs attended the course to widen their perspectives on leadership, get a better understanding of the enlisted perspective as well as learn about other resources available to them. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Darren Domingo)

Col. Jason Sutton (left), 50th Network Operations Group commander, answers questions from 2nd Lts. Maggie Jones, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, and Spencer Proctor, 2nd Space Operations Squadron, during the Company Grade Officer Professional Enhancement Course Feb. 17-18, 2016, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Twenty-four Schriever CGOs attended the course to widen their perspectives on leadership, get a better understanding of the enlisted perspective as well as learn about other resources available to them. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Darren Domingo)

Master Sgt. Heather Abney, 50th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor, greets students during the Company Grade Officer Professional Enhancement Course Feb. 17-18, 2016, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The course invited CGOs throughout the base to come and learn leadership perspectives from a diverse group of speakers from various backgrounds and ranks. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Darren Domingo)

Master Sgt. Heather Abney, 50th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor, greets students during the Company Grade Officer Professional Enhancement Course Feb. 17-18, 2016, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The course invited CGOs throughout the base to come and learn leadership perspectives from a diverse group of speakers from various backgrounds and ranks. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Darren Domingo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A mix of junior lieutenants and captains attended a Company Grade Officer Professional Enhancement Course to widen their perspectives on leadership and learn about other resources available to them Feb. 17-18, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

Throughout the course, 24 CGOs engaged in discussion with Schriever commanders, first sergeants and senior NCOs. There were also presentations from the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Veteran Affairs, the legal office, base training manager and a leadership lesson from a U.S. Air Force Academy representative.

"The CGOPEC was established to bridge the professional development gap between commissioning and squadron officer school with the goal of preparing junior officers for the challenges of a successful Air Force career," explained Master Sgt. Heather Abney, 50th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor.

Abney, with the help of squadron superintendents, emailed CGOs throughout the base about the opportunity. Second Lt. Ikenna Olelewe, 4th Space Operations Squadron developmental engineer, looked forward to learning from a diverse group of leaders.

"I figured that coming to this event and having the opportunity to interact with people of various ranks and perspectives was going to be very valuable," said Olelewe. "You can never know enough."

On Day 1, the CGOs participated in a "speed-mentoring" session with Team 5-0 commanders to freely ask them questions in 9-minute sessions before the senior leaders had to rotate to the next table.

"I know this is a CGOPEC, but I know all the commanders are learning just as much as the students are," said Lt. Col. Chris Todd, 3rd Space Operations Squadron commander.

Day 1 also included briefings regarding financial plans and assistance. First Lt. Jessica Dudney, 4th Space Operations Squadron assistant flight commander, said she benefited from A&FRC's presentations.

"A course that really stood out to me [on] the first day was the financial briefing," she said. "I kind of thought going into it, it'll just be stuff that I already know and I'm fine with my money, but the instructor answered some questions that I had about investments and ended up being really helpful."

On Day 2, the senior NCOs shared information on enlisted perspectives ranging from personal experiences, professional relationships, education, dress and appearance and writing Airman Comprehensive Assessments and Enlisted Performance Reports.

"It was good hearing the senior NCO perspective about the process of writing EPRs even though I'm not supervising anyone right now," said Dudney. "It's good information to know when I eventually do have someone [to supervise]."

Retired Chief Master Sgt. Bob Vasquez, Academy Center for Character and Leadership Development freshmen seminar course director, shared his perspective on what it means to be a leader in today's Air Force. He encouraged the young officers to take care of themselves in order to take care of others. Vasquez also taught students to understand their identity, hold on to their values and let those ideals drive their vision and career.

"I appreciate the fact that even though he's retired, he still supports Airmen, wants to make a strong impression on us and let us know that we do have the capacity to do even greater things," said Olelewe. "He was a very funny and witty guy. I enjoyed his presentation, I think it was very valuable and helpful."

The next CGOPEC is scheduled for May 11-12, 2016. For more information on future professional development courses and how to sign up, call 567-5927.
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