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Atlantic Stripe: Molding, mentoring and developing today’s NCO

Atlantic Stripe group photo.

U.S. Airmen, Soldiers, NATO partners, and senior leaders pose for a group photo during the Atlantic Stripe Conference at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2019. This four-day self-development conference, hosted by U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, provided seventy junior noncommissioned officers briefings on a wide variety of topics including leadership philosophy, etiquette, resiliency and decision making. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

Airmen participate in an obstacle course during Atlantic Stripe.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Shawn Kim, 86th Aerospace Maintenance Squadron instrument flight controller, and Staff Sgt. Dimas Bernacchia, 100th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst, pull a weighted sled during the Atlantic Stripe conference at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2019. Over 70 attendees from the U.S. Air Force, Army, and NATO competed in a timed obstacle course during the four-day event where junior noncommissioned officers learned tactical and technical leadership skills to help develop them as leaders. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

Technical Sgt.  Jason Allard, 48th Communication Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of quality assurance, rests a log on his shoulder during a team building event.

U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Jason Allard, 48th Communication Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of quality assurance, rests a log on his shoulder during a team building event at the annual Atlantic Stripe conference, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 10, 2019. Atlantic Stripe is a four-day, command-wide enlisted development event created to develop junior NCOs from the Air Force, Army, and NATO. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

German Air Force Sergeant Katharina Schmitt participates in Krav Maga training.

German Air Force Sergeant Katharina Schmitt participates in Krav Maga training at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 9, 2019. Krav Maga is form of self-defense that attendees learned during the four-day annual Atlantic Stipe conference that is aimed to develop seventy junior noncommissioned officers from the U.S. Air Force, Army, and NATO partners. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

Attendees of Atlantic Stripe conference receive a briefing regarding military construction.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremy Oare and Staff Sgt. Joshua Ford, 435th Construction and Training Squadron structural craftsmen, provide a briefing to attendees of the annual Atlantic Stripe conference on the appropriate procedures in the construction of multipurpose hangers at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 9, 2019. Seventy junior noncommissioned officers from the Air Force, Army, and NATO participated in the four-day event created to professionally develop, mentor and mold leaders. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

U.S. Air Force TSgt. Alex Rose, 721st Aerial Port Squadron special handling operator, gives the one-minute signal while securing a parachute static line during sustained airborne demonstration.

U.S. Air Force TSgt. Alex Rose, 721st Aerial Port Squadron special handling operator, gives the one-minute signal while securing a parachute static line during sustained airborne demonstration at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 9, 2019. U.S. Airmen, Soldiers, and NATO service members participated in the annual Atlantic Stripe development conference hosted by U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, designed to enhance NCOs ability to lead in a tactical and technical environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

U.S. Airmen, Soldiers, and NATO service members practice Krav Maga, a form of self-defense.

U.S. Airmen, Soldiers, and NATO service members practice Krav Maga, a form of self-defense used by the 435th Contingency Readiness Group and taught at the annual Atlantic Stripe enlisted development conference at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 9, 2019. Atlantic stripe is a junior noncommissioned officers development course hosted by U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, designed to deliberately develop future leaders. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Easton, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa command chief, speaks to junior noncommissioned officers.

Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Easton, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa command chief, speaks to junior noncommissioned officers regarding his personal leadership perspective during the Atlantic Stripe conference at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 7, 2019. Atlantic Stripe is a four-day, command-wide enlisted development event created to develop seventy junior NCOs from the USAF, Army, and NATO commands. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

Chief Warrant Officer Jake Alpert, command senior enlisted advisor for NATO Allied Air Command, speaks to junior noncommissioned officers during the Atlantic Stripe.

Chief Warrant Officer Jake Alpert, command senior enlisted advisor for NATO Allied Air Command, speaks to junior noncommissioned officers during the Atlantic Stripe conference at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 8, 2019. The Atlantic Stripe conference provided professional development briefings on a variety of topics including leadership philosophy, etiquette, resiliency and decision making. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

Croatian Air Force Sergeant Ivan Milin attempts to disarm a simulated attacker with a plastic weapon during Krav Maga training.
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Croatian Air Force Sergeant Ivan Milin attempts to disarm a simulated attacker with a plastic weapon during Krav Maga training at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 9, 2019. Krav Maga is a form of self-defense taught to participants of the annual Atlantic Stripe Conference, a four-day junior noncommissioned officer development course hosted by U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Brecht)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

Approximately 70 Airmen, Soldiers and NATO service members from across Europe came together at Ramstein Air Base, Germany for the annual Atlantic Stripe conference, a highly selective, four-day professional development seminar aimed at deliberately developing junior noncommissioned officers to become better Airmen and leaders.

Multiple leaders came together from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, 3rd Air Force and NATO to provide various leadership perspectives to the class throughout the week.

“This professional development conference was designed for hard-charging, high potential E-5s and E-6s throughout the command,” said Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Easton, the USAFE – AFAFRICA command chief.

“Our goal is to make sure they understand how they fit into the mission: in their squadron, in their group, in their wing, in their MAJCOM and in their combatant commands,” added Easton.

There were 26 different topics discussed including the importance of honest feedback, setting priorities for individuals and teams, emotional intelligence, resiliency and formal etiquette to help attendees strengthen their leadership skills.

Easton continued on the importance of the conference and how these skills are vital to developing the NCO corps.

“We ask a lot out of our junior enlisted. We ask them to be technical experts, improve themselves, be involved in the community and take care of their Airmen. We have to make sure they have all the tools they need to be successful.”

While primarily U.S. Air Force Airmen were in attendance, there were several U.S. Army and NATO service members selected, giving the class a one-of-a-kind joint and international perspective.

“I work with over 29 nations from all different branches of the military… all the services and countries have different cultures, career fields, and standards. When we come together, we get a better understanding of those things and become better at operating in a coalition and teams to face today’s challenges,” said Warrant Officer Jake Alpert, command senior enlisted leader NATO Allied Air Command.

The class also had senior noncommissioned officers in attendance to mentor, guide and facilitate. Their primary role was to help attendees digest the information and ensure understanding of the tactical, operational and strategic concepts being communicated.

“Over the last week, it was mutually beneficial to be able to learn and share our respected missions, leadership successes and failures in order to grow and be better, together,” said the class’ mentor, Senior Master Sgt. Kodi Bailey, USAFE-AFAFRICA A3 superintendent for operations and plans division.

In addition to briefings and panel discussions, attendees had an opportunity to tour the 435th Combat Readiness Group, the deployment transition center and the 603rd Air Operations Center to better understand various, unique components of the USAFE-AFAFRICA mission.

“This conference was great. The topics were interesting, the briefers were enthusiastic, and I was able to network with many Americans from different services,” reflected Senior Sergeant Hanne Skjaeveland, a Norwegian Air Force mission planner from the Command and Control Squadron, from the Heavy Airlift Wing, Papa, Hungary.

The week concluded with a physical training obstacle course designed to challenge teams on communication, physical abilities and cooperation.

Easton delivered closing remarks, bringing the conference to a close, “mentoring, molding and developing our force is critical to our success. Serving alongside NCOs like you gives me faith in our military’s future and our ability to remain the world’s greatest Air Force.”