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Schriever Airmen earn ALS awards

Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Glover, 21st Medical Group first sergeant, presents Senior Airman Megan Jackson, 50th Operations Support Squadron, with the Distinguished Graduate award during the Airman Leadership School graduation Thursday, July 30, 2015 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Jackson was one of two graduates, in a class of 32, to earn this award. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robb Lingley)

Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Glover, 21st Medical Group first sergeant, presents Senior Airman Megan Jackson, 50th Operations Support Squadron, with the Distinguished Graduate award during the Airman Leadership School graduation Thursday, July 30, 2015 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Jackson was one of two graduates, in a class of 32, to earn this award. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robb Lingley)

Master Sgt. Michelle James, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Region 8, NCO-in-charge of financial management, presents Senior Airman Jonathan Vargas, 50th Security Forces Squadron, with the Academic Achievement award during the Airman Leadership School graduation Thursday, July 30, 2015 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. In addition to graduating ALS and earning this award, Vargas also pinned on his Staff Sergeant rank during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robb Lingley)

Master Sgt. Michelle James, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Region 8, NCO-in-charge of financial management, presents Senior Airman Jonathan Vargas, 50th Security Forces Squadron, with the Academic Achievement award during the Airman Leadership School graduation Thursday, July 30, 2015 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. In addition to graduating ALS and earning this award, Vargas also pinned on his Staff Sergeant rank during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robb Lingley)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Nine Senior Airmen from Schriever Air Force Base were among the 32 graduates from the Airman Leadership School July 30, but two of them stood out from the rest and earned awards for their performance during the five-week course.

Senior Airman Megan Jackson, 50th Operations Support Squadron, earned the Distinguished Graduate award and Senior Airman Johnathan Vargas, 50th Security Forces Squadron, earned the Academic Achievement award. Vargas also pinned on his staff sergeant rank during the graduation.

"Airman Leadership School is critical to the development of professional warfighters who can supervise and lead our most precious resource, our Airmen," said Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna, 50th Space Wing command chief. "The 32 graduates of Class 15-6 should be proud of their recent success at ALS; they now have the tools necessary to lead Air Force teams.  Among these graduates were Team Five-O's very own Jackson and Vargas, both invested in their professional and personal development during Class 15-6 and were recognized for their accomplishments."

Jackson said she wasn't thinking about winning awards during her time at ALS. She was more focused on making sure she, and all of her classmates, were able to complete the course.

"I was surprised, I definitely wasn't expecting any awards," Jackson said. "I was just trying to get through [ALS] and I made sure everybody else got through it. I wasn't expecting [the award] at all."

Jackson said the Distinguished Graduate award is an all-encompassing award that takes into account student performance in all aspects of the ALS course.

"It goes off of academics, peer reviews, all of the assignments we have and the speeches, everything that we did throughout the entire five weeks," she said. "It's the top 10 percent of the entire class."

The five-week classroom style course requires students to give speeches and interpersonal counseling sessions. Instructors take students through specific scenarios and teach in the guided discussion format.

"The course is not an easy one, it can't be, and it takes time, dedication and teamwork to complete it," Bentivegna said.

The ALS experience was difficult, but provided Jackson with a clear focus as she moves forward in her career.

"It was difficult, there was a lot of work involved, a lot of learning," Jackson said. "Going forward, I know what I want to do now when I do [supervise] Airmen. ALS made me want to be a better Airman and it made me want to make better Airmen and help them progress in their careers."

Congratulations to all 50th Space Wing Airmen who graduated ALS July 30:

Senior Airman Lacie Bolen, 50 OSS

Senior Airman Christopher Felder, 4th Space Operations Squadron

Senior Airman Megan Jackson, 50 OSS

Senior Airman Zachery Haugen, 50th Space Communications Squadron

Senior Airman Stephen Lemmons, 3rd Space Operations Squadron

Senior Airman Nicholas Rogers, 50th Contracting Squadron

Senior Airman Johnathan Vargas, 50 SFS

Senior Airman Karl Walter, 50 SCS

Senior Airman Samantha Williams, 50 SFS

(Editor's note: Vargas was unavailable for comment by deadline due to scheduling conflicts.)
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