It was an exciting day at the Airman Leadership School. After five weeks of developing leadership aptitude and building effective communication skills, the future enlisted leaders of the U.S. Air Force gathered for graduation day. As awards and speeches were given, the graduates recited a creed unusual for an Air Force ceremony – the Creed of the United States Coast Guardsman. Amongst the graduating students and representing the Coast Guard along with many of our nation’s finest young leaders from the Air Force was Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Evans. Evans, a marine science technician from Sector New Orleans, was selected to attend the class based upon her outstanding performance and leadership potential. Being part of the challenging developmental program with the Air Force was a rare opportunity for Evans as she and her Air Force colleagues covered topics such as combat leadership, military professionalism, supervisory skills, communication and group dynamics. In the words of Evans’ instructor, Tech Sgt. Adrienne Russell-George, the school is a “gateway to become a supervisor.” “In the five and a half weeks we have them here it amazes me to see how people grow,” said Russell-George. “It’s challenging but it’s a great experience.”
Russell-George acknowledged it was rare for a member of the Coast Guard to take the class but emphasized the value of having students from different backgrounds coming together. “When you deploy you work with different countries and different branches. We all have our rivalry among the branches, but at the end of the day we all work together; we all work for the same mission,” said Russell-George.
More than just attending the class, however, Evans was awarded the distinguished graduate award, presented to a graduate within the top 10 percent of the class. Evans stood out amongst her peers with one of the highest overall averages in all graded areas. “I was so proud of her because it was even more of a challenge because there are things that are geared towards Air Force knowledge,” said Russell-George. Already applying what she learned, Evans is busy setting a high standard in Sector New Orleans’ Incident Management Division. “Her team-player attitude is magnetic and is a vital resource within the operationally high-tempo Incident Management Division,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Christina Pierce, Evans’ direct supervisor. Evans already has her qualification as a pollution responder but is working towards becoming a federal on-scene coordinator representative. This unique position requires experience, expertise and leadership – all things she has gained from her time at the Airman Leadership School. The qualification, normally reserved for first class petty officers, means Evans will represent the sector commander in managing and overseeing the proper response, clean-up and cost documentation of oil spills and hazardous material releases. “Because of her skills, attitude and performance, MST3 Evans has exceeded her role as a junior petty officer and shows unlimited potential,” said Lt. j.g. Kasey Talbot, assistant Incident Management chief. Evans doesn’t focus solely on her own qualifications, however. As a graduate of the Airman Leadership School she knows she must continue to grow as a supervisor, which includes helping those who look up to her. “After attending the Airman Leadership Skill, her attention to detail and passion to become a role model and mentor for both her subordinates and supervisors has become a top priority,” said Seaman Brookly Susic. “With the incoming personnel, she has volunteered to mentor and provide unlimited support to all the new members. Not only is she a great role model at work, her personality and motivation for professional and personal development is amazing. She pushes people to reach beyond their limits. I look up to her.”