Leadership Program Held for Noncommissioned Officers in Colombia

By Dialogo
January 01, 2010

Fifteen Colombian noncommissioned officers took a leadership course offered
by the Inter-American Air Forces Academy in their home country late in 2009. It was
the fifth time in two years that the International Noncommissioned Officer Academy
course was presented outside its normal location at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
Teaching the course in Bogotá were Master Sgt. Samuel Nuñez and Tech. Sgt.
Juan Márquez, who were deployed for 46 days beginning in November 2009. They offered
220 hours of U.S. Air Force Enlisted Professional Military Education, or EPME, to
the 15 Colombian senior noncommissioned officers. Among the students were the first
three women in the Colombian Air Force’s 90-year history to participate in an
enlisted leadership development program.
Since 2008, the academy’s EPME program has contributed to the future of Latin
American air forces and strengthened regional cooperation. This is accomplished by
providing a common EPME framework focused on subjects such as unit management,
combat leadership, and military professional and managerial communications.
Among the accomplishments of the mission was a community event to benefit
children. The curriculum teaches the concept of professionalism, focusing on
community service. The students organized an event in which more than 50 orphans and
children from low-income families were given medical and dental care, haircuts and
entertainment. The children and their caregivers received gifts and meals paid for
by more than $1,000 in donations.
EPME reinforces one of the Air Force’s top priorities: building partnership
capacity. The program has enabled enlisted personnel from more than 21 countries in
the command area to support U.S.-Latin American engagements at all levels, as
economic, political and social instability reverberates throughout the region. The
initiative’s objective was reaffirmed by Maj. Gen. Julio González, Colombian Air
Force vice chief of staff, who said, “We now have a common framework of education.
NCOs graduating from this course will develop structured leadership skills and a
better understanding of how the enlisted force contributes to the overall Air Force

Inter-American Air Forces Academy