Mentorship program strengthens CGOs

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Company grade officers who only have limited interaction with enlisted personnel now may discover later that their growth as leaders has been impeded.

Missileers and other career groups here who do not have daily one-on-one interaction with senior noncommissioned officers often feel disadvantaged later in their careers. This finding was reported by officers who realized they had much to catch up on as they progressed through the Air Force.

The need for an organized mentorship program seemed pertinent.

Understanding the impact a good mentor can have on a young officer's career--possibly the difference between an adequate leader and a strong one--the Company Grade Officer Association and the Big Sky Top Three joined forces to create the CGO Mentorship Program (CMP).

The program pairs a CGO with a SNCO who is not in the same career field for six months. This allows for multiple experiences to be shared. CMP is designed to be flexible and allow pairings to email and meet as convenient.

For 1st Lt. Kimberly Erskine, 12th Missile Squadron missile combat crew commander, the program helped alleviate several concerns she had. She was paired with Senior Master Sgt. Lance Blocher, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron operations flight superintendent.

"I didn't want to be in a position where I became a captain and I wasn't familiar with writing Enlisted Performance Reports," Erskine said. "I want to make sure that no matter where I am in the Air Force, that I'm confident in my capabilities to lead."

Blocher is helping her practice writing effective EPRs.

"Writing EPRs can be pretty difficult, especially since it is a completely different writing style than I'm used to," Erskine said. "Senior Master Sgt. Blocher noted my concerns and sent me sample EPRs from various ranks to look over. At our next meeting we will go over possible writing strategies and see what might be my strengths and weaknesses."

CMP encourages opportunities like bullet-writing workshops and classes to improve leadership skills and traits. And, it gives SNCOs an opportunity to circumvent future issues and problems, and create the types of officers they are proud to work alongside.

CGOs and SNCOs who are interested in the CMP should contact 1st Lt. May Morales at 731-6980 to apply. When matched, program leaders will email the officer and the enlisted member with some starting topics to consider while they are paired.
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