ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE | "You don't become a champion on the field," said Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth O. Wright, the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, in response to a question about morale at the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium, March 2, 2017. "You become a champion in practice."

For the Air Force, this practice happens in both Professional Military Education courses and training.

“ALS teaches basic leadership skills,” said Master Sgt. Kevin Davis, the Airman Leadership School commandant assigned to the 28th Force Support Squadron. “It’s up to the students to build upon the skills they learn here. Whether it is leadership, team-building or anything else, it takes time to improve.”

Another facet of education in the military is training. This is recognized by both CDCs and on-the-job training to show an Airman’s comprehensive understanding of their field of work.

“CDCs are foundational knowledge,” said Tech. Sgt. Jed Abbott, the base education and training manager assigned to the 28th Force Support Squadron. “Without having that knowledge, our Airmen don’t have the basic structure to move forward in their career.”

Abbott continued by saying PME and training build off each other. They are two sides of the same coin. CDCs are the core knowledge and understanding of a person’s AFSC while PME is the basics of heritage and leadership for Airmen.

As service members progress through rank, the intentions of these differing educational courses focus on leading Airmen to become professionals that are competent at their job.

Davis explained learning leadership skills comes from communication. That means getting to know people, giving them feedback and doing evaluations.

“Commanders, superintendents, first sergeants and supervisors remain central to inspiring a culture of innovation, agility and excellence, while promoting a continuum of learning that spans an Airman’s career,” Wright said.

The leadership skills learned at different PME courses, in addition to the CDC and PME testing Airmen take throughout their career, have the singular purpose of empowering service members to become better Airmen, leaders and people.

“Using the CDCs as a baseline sets Airmen up for success in the military,” Abbott said. “You will continue to build upon what you learned in the beginning, because you will continue to utilize these skills throughout the duration of your military career. Take it serious today, take it serious tomorrow, because only by doing that will we keep the Air Force mission moving smoothly.”

No matter the test or course, Ellsworth’s education office and PME school ensures their Airmen are capable of providing combat air power: anytime, anywhere.