JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Thirty-one service members from eight nations met for the Junior Enlisted Leadership Forum (JELF) at the 17 Wing, Winnipeg, Canada October 21 - 25.
The JELF is designed to inform junior Non-Commissioned Officers about professional development strategies to grow them into tomorrow’s senior enlisted leaders. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) co-hosted the annual five-day event with the Royal Canadian Air Force and with the theme of “Leadership Challenges,” the senior enlisted leaders discussed the importance of communication.
“These junior enlisted leaders are the future of our forces,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Johnson, PACAF command chief. “By coming together and learning the similarities between our respective forces and building those connections, they can broaden their perspectives. Our countries work together as a coalition, so we should learn from each other and work together as often as we can to ensure we keep our bonds strong.”
Participants were able to learn from their counterparts as well as senior enlisted leaders from other nations, which covered many topics including resiliency, culture, ethics, and the complexity of the geopolitical environment.
“As leaders, our job is to make sure that the goals we are trying to achieve are communicated down the chain, so that everybody understands what we are talking about,” said Royal Canadian Air Force Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Gaudreault.
Throughout the event, participants had different scenarios, discussions, and challenges including the “marshmallow challenge,” which involved building the highest spaghetti tower they could with tape, string, spaghetti noodles and marshmallows, emphasizing teamwork, and problem solving.
This year’s JELF included rising non-commissioned officers from the Air Forces of Canada, the United States., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Bangladesh and the Philippines, and although each country may do things different, participants learned overall there were many similarities between the forces.
“It is a privilege to be picked for something like this,” said Royal Canadian Air Force MCpl Kevin Griffin. “I feel like my supervisors recognized the hard work I have put in at my unit. I was excited to come and interact with other Air Forces.”