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ROKAF joins Kunsan ALS for the first time

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Samuel Earick
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Sixteen U.S. Air Force and Republic of Korea Airmen graduated from Airman Leadership School July 6.

This graduation celebrated not only the accomplishments of the students but also the first time ROK Air Force Airmen have participated in this professional military education course alongside U.S. Airmen at Kunsan AB.

ALS is the first level of enlisted PME in the U.S. Air Force used to prepare junior Airmen for increased responsibility and supervisory roles.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Emeliana Punahele-Yau, 51st Fighter Wing Airmen Leadership School instructor, explained how having military members from both countries join in ALS is important for future collaborations between the ROK and U.S. air forces..

“By understanding how diverse we are and flipping the perception to not view that as a weakness but as our ultimate strengths, helps strengthen our foundation of our relationship,” said Punahele-Yau. “The foundation that we are creating and strengthening is how we create a super strong joint force and once we have that connection and foundation we can go out and win any fight.”

During the course, Airmen not only worked together to accomplish training requirements but also realized how working together was a great opportunity to learn from one another and build long-lasting relationships. Republic of Korea Air Force Master Sgt. Sungwook Ok shared his thoughts on the course.

“Attending this course has been a fantastic experience, seeing how the U.S. Air Force deals with their service members, even those that are deployed or stationed in another country,” said Ok. “It can be hard being away from your family and it gets stressful, but ALS makes you feel as one, and we work as a team so in that vein, ALS made me feel like part of them.”

The completion of the course not only signified the readiness of these leaders, but also represents the commitment our forces have toward fortifying the ROK-U.S. alliance.