AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --
Each of us is part of a larger team, bringing our individual talents to add value to a cause much bigger than ourselves. We must all stay rooted in the conceptual knowledge of the Joint Force and what each service member brings to the fight. Likewise, we must recognize the operational importance of airpower and apply it across the full spectrum of warfare. - U.S. Air Force Joint Team Doctrine
Aviano AB’s, TSgt. Adam K. Ginett Airman Leadership School embodied the Joint Force concept by welcoming two members from the Croatian Air Force to attend the course for the first time. The five-week course is designed to mold and shape the future leaders of the U.S. Air Force by teaching Air Force culture, public speaking and critical thinking.
ALS class 23-D consists of a joint and total force military; each person, branch and military bringing their own unique perspective into the class.
“This class is very diverse, and I love the structure of it,” said Staff Sgt. Anna Harrison, 31st Force Support Squadron ALS instructor. “We actually have two Croatian Air Force students, one Italian Air Force member, one civilian and then one Army member, so it’s very, very diverse.”
Harrison also mentioned the benefits of having so many different backgrounds come together to help learn and teach one another.
“One of the biggest things I always tell students when they come through ALS is networking,” said Harrison. “Getting other people's perspectives on things, their job, processes, how they do things, because we're stronger when we're more aware of each other's experiences and paths.”
Having the Croatian Air Force members in attendance really helped open the minds of the U.S. Air Force members, according to Harrison. They are growing as individuals and unlocked a certain perspective to help think of the bigger picture.
“Today, we find ourselves in an era of strategic competition against adversaries who seek to outpace and eventually overtake us,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Joanne S. Bass. “Every Airman must know what is at stake and understand the critical importance of synchronizing our capabilities with our joint partners to amplify our collective strength and power.”
The joint cohesion of allied NATO forces has been in the works for almost a year. Croatian Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Michael Križanec has visited previous ALS classes to speak on his own experiences and lessons learned from his years in the military and his plans for the integration.
“The education here at Aviano is a small step towards increasing the interoperability and trust between our two Air Forces,” said Križanec. “People who know each other, have feelings and understanding for each other can build better trust, and trust is one of the key components of effectiveness in the future challenges that our Air Forces will face.”
Croatian Air Force Lance Cpl. Karlo Vargek, an armament technician, was selected to attend Aviano’s ALS class for being a ‘Top Performer’ in an English test, physical training and other qualifying factors.
“I learned a lot about diversity, American Air Force culture and your core values,” said Vargek. “This is a great opportunity for us to learn your ways and to bring some of your knowledge to help grow the Croatian military.”
The United States Air Force has been a critical component of every conflict, humanitarian mission, and military presence around the globe. Every Airman contributes to the delivery of sovereignty and freedom through their specialized skillset, thereby generating airpower—anytime, anywhere. -U.S. Air Force Joint Team Doctrine.
“The way I see it is how reality is today, it's all confronting us with challenges we have. I don't know when or where the future challenge will be, but we are better if we are better prepared. And we cannot be prepared unless we cooperate, communicate and work together through all possible avenues that we interact in,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Križanec, commander of Croatian Air Force.