SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – As the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program moves to strengthen partnerships and train fighter pilots for the alliance, it’s also building future leaders of the program.
It’s a process that often begins before students take their first step toward an aircraft. LEAD, a new ENJJPT diversity and inclusion initiative that teaches Airmen to Listen, Educate, Acknowledge and Do, is taking the leadership development process to a new level.
“All that we do here is demanding,” said Col. Robert Haas, 80th Flying Training Wing commander. “We have to learn to cope with safe, disciplined operations in a high-tempo environment. And because we all view the world differently … this program specifically allows us to help, and some coping capabilities are built into it.”
A representative from each unit in the 80th FTW sits on the LEAD council and helps coordinate events and facilitate monthly Ops Checks, a group that is flight-sized or smaller and discusses difficult but necessary conversations. The topic for April 2021 was conscious and unconscious bias. The discussions are intended to create dialogue, foster a culture of dignity and respect and, ultimately, promote mission success.
ENJJPT is a diverse mix of people from 14 partner nations in NATO. Those differences, with the right environment, make the program stronger and better equipped to face the challenges of tomorrow. With diversity comes differing opinions, ideologies, lifestyles and worldviews. LEAD was created to help bring learning and understanding about the differences that make us unique and make us a stronger Air Force.
“It’s to help ENJJPT be the place to be, and then keep it that way,” said 80th FTW Command Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Mueller.
The grassroots organization allows people from all ranks and different backgrounds to get together and learn to understand one another. This helps promote unit cohesion and maintain a healthy work environment.
“You sit down and you realize that we’re all just people at the end of the day, just trying to accomplish the mission,” Haas said. “We can’t remain stale throughout our training as we’re looking to prepare our graduates for the next fight.”
LEAD discussions are open to civilian and military members. More information on the LEAD by contacting Capt. Samone Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.