LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Virginia –
The new Airman Leadership School flight chief loves Professional Military Education. That is why he made his latest career move back to ALS. Master Sgt. John Lackey, 1st Civil Engineer Squadron got the position for ALS chief as a pleasant surprise.
“It’s a very competitive position,” said Sergeant Lackey, “but one of the most important in the Air Force. It may not be as fun as instructing, but it’s a very rewarding mission to accomplish.”
Sergeant Lackey’s mission gives him responsibility for the PME program on the ALS level, one of four primary PME forms of Air Force education. Other programs include Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Senior NCO Academy and the new Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Course.
“I conduct day-to-day operations, which include overseeing instruction in the profession of arms, communications skills and leadership,” he said. “This is all done with the intent of making students more effective leaders and supervisors.”
Sergeant Lackey wanted the ALS top spot due to his prior ALS experiences. “Personally, this goes back to my time as an instructor in Yokota Air Base, Japan,” he said. “I felt that based upon my love of education and PME, I would be effective as a flight chief.”
The Albion, Mich., native’s experience with PME began with his attendance to the NCO Prep Course in 1990, moving to ALS in 1995 and the NCOA in 2002. Using the same lessons he learned from PME, he comes to his new position prepared to watch and learn.
“I’m the person here who needs to learn,” he said. “When I’m up to speed about how this ALS works, I’ll worry about any necessary changes. Langley ALS already has excellent programs with an excellent staff.”
Sergeant Lackey considers his education in high regard -- as a way to approach life and warfighting. “Awareness in education is important,” he said. “You need to be able to respond to changing situations, and only through education can we deal with that change and ultimately be an effective fighting force.”
Now settling into his position, he’s reminded of his work as an ALS instructor and employing the four-year controlled tour to come. “PME is a labor of love,” said Sergeant Lackey. “Anyone who stays in this business loves what they do, and to me, this has got to be one of the best enlisted jobs out there.”