‘ALL IN!” – A Week At Region Staff College
By 1st. Lt Sean Wardwell
UTWG Director of Public Affairs
COLORADO SPRINGS – Standing at the front of Polaris Hall at the US Air Force Academy, Chief Master Sergeant Bob Vasquez (retired) asked a simple, but important question to the assembled cadet and senior students of the University of Rocky Mountain Region (URMR).
“Are you in?” he asked.
As expected, the audience answered in the affirmative. However, that wasn’t good enough for the Chief.
“ARE YOU IN?”
As we were soon informed, the only appropriate answer to this question is “all in!” It means giving everything you have – for your fellow Airmen, for the mission and for your country. Indeed, “all in” is the perfect metaphor for attending Region Staff College (RSC), held from June 24-29. It is, essentially, a seven-day crash course in how to lead, listen, motivate, innovate and not go insane in the process while juggling these things. The only thing more impressive than the amount of knowledge one is supposed to absorb is how well the whole course is managed and how effectively said information is imparted.
RSC is required for Level IV of the Senior Member Development Program with the corresponding Garber Award. Prerequisites for attending are to be at least Level 2 and already completed Squadron Leadership School and the Corporate Learning Course.
“The value of attending URMR and RSC cannot be stressed enough! Students get not only top-notch, professional leadership training from USAF greats like Gen. Stephen Lorenz (Former commander of Air Education and Training Command), but the school represents an unparalleled opportunity to network not only within the region, but across the country,” said Capt. Erin Borland, who directed the RSC course. “You meet people at RSC that you’ll likely chat with and bounce ideas off of for the rest of your CAP career. Add in behind the scenes tours of the USAFA and the National Museum of WWII Aviation, and the URMR formal Dining In and graduation, you get an action-packed week that is worth every penny!”
Borland also pointed out that this was a new take on not only RSC, but the entire regional approach to professional development and cadet leadership as well.
“The 2018 RSC brought a new approach to senior member education in the guise of URMR and a reimagining of an outdated model for the school,” said Borland. “URMR brought together cadets, senior members and chaplains allowing for combined classes and learning experiences.”
She continued, “This new model was an overwhelming success, and students from across all of URMR positively responded to being able to learn from and interact with the other colleges in a way that is unique to Rocky Mountain Region.”
In a tightly coordinated week, students learned and received feedback from the RMR wing commanders, the region commander, region staff and retired noncommissioned and senior officers, such as Chief Vasquez and Gen. Lorenz.
Of particular importance were the lectures on upholding CAP’s core values of Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence, and Respect.
“Culture will defeat strategy every single time. The culture is set by the leader,” said RMR Commander Col. Tom Kettell, who gave several leadership seminars. “A culture of conscience is impossible unless all personnel understand, accept, internalize and are free to follow the core values.”
He continued, “People must be allowed and encouraged to engage in an extended dialog about exploring the role of the core values at all levels.”
Students were also treated to a guided tour of the National Museum of WWII Aviation, lunch inside a converted KC-97 Stratofreighter and had a behind the scenes look at the Air Force Academy.
Even students who attended from outside RMR were impressed with the new organization.
“During the course of the week, I learned a lot from my instructors as well as my classmates at Rocky Mountain Region Staff College — knowledge and skills that I can apply both in CAP and in my professional career as a university administrator and educator,” said Maj. Kenny Loui of CAWG. “All in all, I had an amazing time at RSC I’m delighted to be an honorary member of RMR and hope to see all my RSC classmates again in the near future!”