It had the qualities of an African safari.
It was a tangle of a different place, but mostly a chance to study something I hadn’t seen so up close and extensively in quite awhile – Airmen. (It was a rare site in my mostly civilian and officer/NCO-filled office.)
And we were all chasing zebras, but I’ll explain that metaphor later.
I suppose others didn’t relish the experience as much, which makes me feel foolish to sift through the memories, but sift I will.
Oh, Airman Leadership School, let me count the ways …
However, because of space constraints I’ll only count one way – the stories. It was a strange juncture of experiences among a motley crew. But I love to hear a story, and ALS had its own special brew.
My observation was the aftertaste was the same: it’s our struggles that stay with us, and they are the stories and lessons we share so readily. It was the bee-sting of defeat, a snake bite of poor supervision, the leopard’s pace of operations the last four years.
And, that was the point of ALS – in this, there was no leaving it as a story of woe, a tale to be told in future gatherings of Airmen: the pushups that multiply exponentially every time someone didn’t do their homework − a struggle to get through at times. The late nights studying − a clash with tired brain cells. Marching a flight − near carnage when dealing with my own clumsiness.
Everyone had to squeeze something good out of ALS. At times, it was like trying to take a stripe from a zebra, and little things came back to bite big, like mosquitoes with West Nile.
Nothing truly good comes without a struggle, and so you will find, if you run fast enough you will catch that zebra and you will have your stripe, or at least some good tales to tell from the trip.