ALPENA, Mich. – The Michigan National Guard hosted its sixth annual joint professional development training April 20-22 at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center.
Supported by personnel from all three Michigan National Guard air bases and a variety of armories, the event drew its largest attendance yet with 174 participants.
The training event focused on leadership strategies, professional organizations and some of the MING’s innovative programs, such as the National All-Domain Warfighting Center and the Kelly Johnson Joint All-Domain Innovation Center.
“The strength of our military is our NCO corps, and if we are going to continue having a strong military, then we need to have strong NCO leaders,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Bryon Harvey, Michigan Air National Guard, Joint Forces Headquarters logistics manager.
Harvey said the leadership information provided at the meeting supplements the professional military education participants receive.
“It is designed to teach those tools they can take home immediately and lead tomorrow,” he said.
Former Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, the keynote speaker, emphasized self-improvement and humble leadership.
“It’s a great thing that the Michigan National Guard and you all are taking the time to better yourselves,” said Dailey. “People want to follow people for who they are. The best leaders don’t forget where they came from. Soldiers and Airmen respect people who remember what it’s like to be out in the field or on the airfield.”
For the fourth year in a row, attendees from Army and Air Force units across the state learned, worked and networked in a joint environment. There were also speakers from the Wisconsin Air National Guard and the active-duty component’s Tank-automotive and Armaments Command.
“When we fight, we always fight joint. When we deploy, we work for combatant commanders in a joint environment,” said Harvey. “In the Guard, we have a unique opportunity to do joint training at a state level. This will prepare us for what we need to do downrange.”
The event also featured presenters who discussed different career paths, educational opportunities, and other benefits.
“I think this event helps the junior enlisted understand the benefits available to them,” said Army 1st Sgt. Tara Gamble, Michigan Army National Guard, JFHQ first sergeant. “It serves as a great retention tool by showing them the different career paths and explaining the educational benefits.”
“We instill our NCOs with greater authority and responsibility than most other militaries,” said Harvey. “If we are going to continue doing, that we need to develop them so they can make the decisions at the frontline level.”