Team McChord pilots Joint Professional Military Education Exchange Program with sister services

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rachel Williams
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Professional military education is not a new concept to those who serve. With its location, joint mission, and availability of sister services’ PMEs, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, serves as an impeccable installation to initiate and foster a PME partnership.  

In October 2021, the 62d Airlift Wing partnered with I Corps and piloted the Joint Professional Military Education Exchange Program. The Henry H. Lind NCO Academy allocated one seat per Basic Leader Course for Senior Airmen or new Staff Sergeants to attend. In return, the Julius A. Kolb Airman Leadership School provided one seat per ALS class for Soldiers. 

“Our Airmen at Team McChord are sitting on a goldmine,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief. “To be co-located with the I Corps and the 7th Infantry Division brings local opportunities and touchpoints for joint training that are truly priceless. I’m very excited that our youngest Airmen and Soldiers are attending PME together.”

The first graduates in the PME exchange were U.S. Army Sgt. Paiavula Sachin with the 62nd Medical Brigade and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kameron Watt with the 4th Airlift Squadron.

Since then, six additional Airman have attended BLC at the Henry H. Lind NCO Academy.

In late 2022, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Adam Schuessler took command of the NCO Academy and expanded the partnership by opening seats for the Master Leader Course to U.S. Air Force Master and Senior Sergeants. Schuessler also offered the opportunity for the staff of ALS to attend the Army’s two-week Faculty Development Program.

The Army’s NCO Academy and Air Force’s ALS are looking into future structure exchanges, ultimately enhancing BLC and ALS training objectives.

“I can’t over emphasize the importance of our joint partnerships,” said Bickley. “It is the key to victory in any future fight … taking [Computer Based Training] and reading about ‘jointness’ is an enabler in our professional growth, but nothing will ever replace working & serving together in a joint environment.”

Another partnership that JBLM holds within the PME exchange is with the U.S. Marine Forces Reserve’s 6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) Corporal’s Course. This endeavor is led by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Kevin Fontenot. Fontenot allocated seats for Air Force Senior Airmen to attend the Corporal’s Course as classes are held throughout the year, as ALS has seats allocated for Marines.

An additional ongoing partnership within sister services is held with the U.S. Coast Guard Base Seattle; Team McChord has allocated seats for Coast Guardsmen to attend ALS.

“Throughout the growth of the PME exchange, there has been ample support from Team McChord filling Army and Marine training allocations,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Ashley Thompson, ALS commandant. “With continued commitment and effort, this partnership is sure to endure.”

Chief Bickley echoed Thompson’s remarks.

“I think the sky is the limit for Team McChord,” said Bickley. “I hope we continue to drive joint integration at all levels.”