JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) —
Enlisted Professional Military Education at the Inter-American Air Forces Academy reached a new level this past training cycle with the addition of the Inter-American Senior Non-Commissioned Officer course. When the course concluded in December, a dozen military students from four partner nations in South and Central America and the United States had successfully completed the course.
The addition of the ISNCO course to the academy’s catalogue makes IAAFA the only institution in the Air Force to offer all three levels of EPME. This significant accomplishment comes at the request of U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Northern Command and Latin American partner nations for a course to develop senior enlisted leaders.
The academy offers professional military education, provides technical training and aircrew courses entirely in Spanish to international military students from 21 Latin American partner nations and to U.S. military members.
Master Sgt. Alfredo Miranda Rosales worked as a curriculum developer at IAAFA from 2014 to 2019. This fall, he returned to the academy as a student in the new ISNCO course.
“It’s been an unforgettable experience for me,” Rosales said. “This course has been key for me in what I needed, not only in language, but in the lessons I am taking with me to continue with the mission of the 12th Air Force, working closely with partner nations represented here.”
According to Senior Master Sgt. Alejandro Velez, 837th Training Squadron senior enlisted leader, the leadership course was implemented to fill a need for partner nations. More Latin American countries are now recognizing the value of professional development for their enlisted forces.
“Seeing examples like ours, they’ve learned that maybe if they prepare their enlisted members they can get that trust in them and put them in leadership positions, so the officer can take care of the strategic part, and the enlisted member the operational side, but they need that preparation,” Velez said.
The ISNCO course has helped prepare Miranda Rosales, a student whose next assignment will include working with the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces, and Sargento primero Ruben Quezada Martinez, a member of the civilian police Servicio de Vigilancia Aerea of Costa Rica. Martinez described the course as “one of the most professional courses I’ve ever been a part of.”
It’s also helping shape the career of Técnico primero Gustavo Alberto Fuzga of the Colombian Air Force, who came to IAAFA in 2019 for the Non-Commissioned Officer Course and returned this year as a partner nation guest instructor. Just a few months later, Fuzga participated in the ISNCO course, earned the honor graduate award, and is now set to teach the same course this January.
“From my point of view from a strategic alliance of the U.S., the NCO course shows you the value of an enlisted member in the institution, whereas the ISNCO course helps to develop members to make more strategic decisions, and grow in their professionalism,” Fuzga said.
Growth is clearly evident at IAAFA and in the professional development of the U.S. and partner nation students who come to the academy.
“For being the very first SNCO course, we get a sense of where IAAFA is headed and where the focus is,” Miranda Rosales said. “I’m taking with me a lot of lessons learned that will really benefit me in the future.”