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Civil Engineer Squadron creates Advisory Council to assist with Airman development

KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Sometimes the hardest thing about career transition is that Airmen often feel alone, and that can be a scary thing.

How you respond to the change is probably the most important factor in whether the change will be a good or a bad thing in your life. Shut down, and you'll not only miss out on the possibilities, but also stop growing as a person. If, however, you embrace the change, you might discover you have something to offer.

The 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron is hoping to assist its Airmen with personal and professional development through the first Civil Engineer Airman's Advisory Council. The council's purpose is to help Airmen grow personally and professionally in the first stages of their military careers. Through community service and team-building exercises, the council hopes to grow the future leaders of their squadron to be the best NCOs they can.

"It's hard for our members to show up one weekend a month and learn the skills needed to be an effective leader and troop," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Weingarten, chairman of the council. "What we hope to accomplish with this council is a foundation for the future leaders of our squadron based on our concerns throughout our careers and the experience of others.

"I saw a need in my squadron and decided the future of my squadron was not only my concern but the concern of other Airmen as well. If we wanted it to be a good future, then we needed to take action."

The council, comprised of enlisted troops up to rank of staff sergeant, advises Airmen on all concerns they may have regarding their professional and personal lives, serving in an advisory capacity that follows all chain of command rules and boundaries. Council members also help their squadron administer the Physical Fitness Improvement Program, mentoring programs, community service and morale events.

For example, council members recently volunteered to revitalize The Winner's Circle volleyball court in the hope of attracting 123rd Airlift Wing members to play more matches. They even made a referee chair out of recycled wood, with their logo burned into the back.

"We feel like this is an important community project for the base," said Staff Sgt. Desiree Farquhar, the council's secretary. "The Winner's Circle is an awesome way to build morale for the whole unit with volleyball tournaments to promote PT and conversation to allow us to integrate with other units. One Team One Fight."

Master Sgt. Alan Smith, the squadron's first sergeant, applauds the council's efforts, saying they show true leadership.

"The wing and I are extremely excited about the Airmen in our squadron taking the initiative to better themselves personally and professionally as a team," Smith said.

For Farquhar, the council's most important goal is to continue fostering a sense of family that helped make the Kentucky Air National Guard one of the most decorated and successful units in the United States Air Force.

"We've all lost sight of each other from the hustle and bustle of inspections and deployments," she said. "I grew up with this base, and I remember when we were so team-oriented that we had softball teams, bowling teams, bean soup festivals and more. We need to prove that we are an outstanding wing -- not just on paper and through what event we participated in -- but through the Airmen we leave in our stead, to feel like we are their family. That's a legacy that will live on forever."