RCAF senior non-commissioned officers shine on USAF leadership course

Three members of the Royal Canadian Air Force were among the students of Advanced Leadership Experience (ALE) Class 19-C who began their five-week course at the United States Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy (SNCOA) in Montgomery, Ala., on March 13, 2019.

The RCAF's Chief Warrant Officer Gerard Poitras (left) and Chief Master Sergeant Thomas Stiles (right), commandant of the SNCOA, present RCAF graduates of the Advanced Leadership Experience Class 19-C--(from left): Master Warrant Officers Stephen Bates, Lynn McFadden-Davies and Robert Peldjak--with their certificates. RCAF Photo
The RCAF’s Chief Warrant Officer Gerard Poitras (left) and Chief Master Sergeant Thomas Stiles (right), commandant of the SNCOA, present RCAF graduates of the Advanced Leadership Experience Class 19-C–(from left): Master Warrant Officers Stephen Bates, Lynn McFadden-Davies and Robert Peldjak–with their certificates. RCAF Photo
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The class prepares senior non-commissioned officers for increased leadership responsibility in the joint, combined, and inter-agency operating and strategic environment, and is delivered in three phases. In Phase I, students receive information on the SNCOA purpose, policies, procedures and requirements. Phase II consists of six modules, each building on the last, beginning with “Self-Awareness” and ending with “Strategic Planning”. Phase III is the capstone, during which students must capture and communicate how their SNCOA experience enhances effectiveness.

After a week-long preparatory course, Master Warrant Officers Stephen Bates, Lynn McFadden-Davies and Robert Peldjak of the RCAF joined their class of 302 students comprising members of the USAF Active Duty, Air National Guard, and Reserve, and the United States Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard.

All three RCAF members performed extremely well, finishing in the top third of their class, and having a significant impact on both staff and students during Class 19-C. Master Warrant Officer Stephen Bates and Master Warrant Officer Robert Peldjak earned Distinguished Graduate (DG) Awards. In order to earn the DG status, students must not only have outstanding academic results, but must also receive high peer ratings. For this reason, only ten per cent of the class achieve DG status.

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Master Warrant Officer Peldjak also received the second-highest award given at the SNCOA: the Bobby G. Renfroe Commandant Award, named after the first enlisted commandant of a senior service school. Only four of the 302 students were nominated for this award, and the recipient is determined through an interview with a SNCOA leadership panel. Master Warrant Officer Peldjak not only earned the Commandant Award, but also was nominated for the highest award given, the Levitow Award, named after Medal of Honor recipient John L. Levitow. Again, he was one of only four students nominated for this award, and had to interview with a SNCOA leadership panel. His is truly a remarkable achievement.

All three of these students rose to the top of Class 19-C, and did a wonderful job representing and demonstrating the quality, capabilities and professionalism of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel to our coalition partners.

Additionally, Chief Warrant Officer (then Master Warrant Officer) A. Geoff Rusconi, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force who is serving on an exchange posting at the SNCOA, was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal for his accomplishments during the period from Nov. 26, 2018 to Dec. 21, 2018.

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