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NEWS | April 5, 2017

437th AMXS NCOA graduate expands goals

By Seamus O’Boyle Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Recently, Tech. Sgt. Paul Woody, 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, received the John L. Levitow award as the honor graduate from the NCO Academy Intermediate Leadership Experience course held at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Louisville, Tennessee. 


“It came as no surprise to hear of Woody’s Levitow award,” said Lt. Col. Rob Ryder, commander, 437th AMXS. “He has an outstanding reputation across the squadron and is a brilliant leader who is instrumental to our unit’s mission.”


However, Woody’s story began long before his trip to the volunteer state. As a young man growing up in Clearwater, Florida, Woody was interested in all things military. In high school, he realized he wasn’t ready for college. 


“At the time, I didn’t really think college was for me,” Woody said. “So I joined the Air Force.”


He didn’t intend to stay past his first enlistment but things changed.


“Over the years, the Air Force grew on me,” said Woody. ”It seems like a good fit.”


Attending the Airman Leadership School early in his career gave him a different perspective.  Woody said, “ALS caused me to take my profession more seriously.”


Woody progressed by working as an avionics technician on C-17 Globemaster III’s, getting promoted to his current rank of technical sergeant. Woody determined he wanted to attend the NCOA leadership course while assigned to the 437th AMXS, Maintenance Special Operations. NCOA is an in-person program offered at 10 Air Force bases around the world.


The prerequisite to the leadership program is Course 15 which is an online leadership concepts and theory training program. Woody completed Course 15 and attended the NCOA leadership course earlier this year.


“Doing the online training prior to participating in the in-person program was extremely valuable because you did your ‘book learning,’ (i.e. theory, concepts, processes, etc.) first,” Woody said. “Once we were on-site it was all practical application. We were able to jump right into actual hands-on training.”


The class consisted of 118 multi-service members who were divided into diverse workgroups.   Woody said the class worked within their workgroups to address various scenarios resolving issues.


“The instructors mainly act as observers,” commented Woody. “They gave us the opportunity to be ourselves while we applied what we learned in the online course.”


Woody felt the in-person course brought the material to life and is now considering further leadership positions.


“My primary goal is to apply to be an officer,” he concluded. “I want to go as far as I can.”


The John L. Levitow award, the highest award for enlisted professional military education in the Air Force, is presented to the student who demonstrates the most outstanding leadership and scholastic achievement in ALS, the NCOA and the Senior NCOA.