Air Guard leaders take charge of their careers

150428-Z-VW421-011

150428-Z-VW421-014 150428-Z-VW421-015

They couldn’t speak to one-another. Using hand signals and the goofiest facial expressions I’ve ever seen, they were forced to communicate. Each obstacle brought different challenges – they had to work together to overcome them.

150428-Z-VW421-018 150428-Z-VW421-025

150428-Z-VW421-028

150428-Z-VW421-035 150428-Z-VW421-050

150428-Z-VW421-067 150428-Z-VW421-069

150428-Z-VW421-073

Those fearful of heights, falling into the water, etc. – had the biggest struggles. I could see the fear in their eyes, their bodies trembling…lucky for them, they had Airmen on their teams who either weren’t fearful of those things, or didn’t show it, to help them overcome their fears. The teamwork and collaboration was extremely impressive.

150428-Z-VW421-074 150428-Z-VW421-085 150428-Z-VW421-103 150428-Z-VW421-110

150428-Z-VW421-113 150428-Z-VW421-122

Did anyone fall into the water? Unfortunately not, I would’ve enjoyed watching that a bit too much (and the photos would’ve been awesome!) I did, however, capture photos of determination, of struggle, and of complete happiness after accomplishing a task that may not have looked very easy at the beginning of it.

150428-Z-VW421-130 150428-Z-VW421-133 150428-Z-VW421-149 150428-Z-VW421-156 150428-Z-VW421-159

150428-Z-VW421-170

150428-Z-VW421-177 150428-Z-VW421-183

150428-Z-VW421-193 150428-Z-VW421-197 150428-Z-VW421-204

Today, I watched Airmen from across the state of Wisconsin kick off the final in-residence portion of the 2nd Annual State Enlisted Development Program. Completing the obstacles at the Leadership Development Course won’t be their only accomplishment this week. By the time they graduate Thursday, they will have accomplished many more tasks – writing exercises, counseling/feedback workshops, open ranks, retreat, the list goes on.

150428-Z-VW421-207 150428-Z-VW421-215 150428-Z-VW421-217

This program gives higher-ranking Airmen a chance to develop their leadership skills, so they can better serve the Airmen they supervise. Throughout the year they are required to attend various leadership courses, complete coursework online and volunteer their time to help numerous organizations in the area.

During the final three days of the SEDP, they are pushed to their limits – and I get to watch every single minute of it! I get to witness our future leaders in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, prepare to lead our organization.

150428-Z-VW421-228 150428-Z-VW421-236

150428-Z-VW421-243

After one day of observation, I’m ready to join them. If you’d like to join me on next year’s SEDP adventure, speak with your first sergeant for an application. After what I saw today, you won’t want to miss out! Let’s work together to continually improve the organization we love – the Air National Guard.

About Tech. Sgt. Andrea F. Rhode

Tech. Sgt. Andrea F. Rhode is a photojournalist for the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, Wisconsin.