First civilian graduates from Kirtland’s Sam E. Parish Airman Leadership School

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Spencer Kanar
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Brian Fattor, a unit program manager for the 58th Maintenance Squadron (MXS), is the first civilian to graduate from the Sam E. Parish Airman Leadership School.

“It started as lighthearted conversations,” said Mr. Fattor. “We saw it in the Air Force times that they were going to allow civilians to go through ALS and it kind of became a running joke between me and leadership that they were going to send me, but sure enough the day came when Kirtland began accepting civilians and they asked if I wanted to go and I said yes.”

Mr. Fattor served as a non-commissioned officer in the Marine Corps before joining the Air Force as a civilian, and although in a non-supervisory role with the 58th MXS, Mr. Fattor frequently interacts with personnel throughout the unit for security, safety and other programs.

“The hardest part is making that connection between military and civilian,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony Moreno-Chavez, ALS instructor. “There was a bit of a learning curve as an instructor, but Mr. Fattor being prior military was able to relate the military side of things back to his civilian jobs.”

ALS is a five week entry-level leadership program designed to develop and train junior enlisted Airmen. The program focuses on strengthening an Airman’s ability to lead while broadening their understanding of the profession of arms and the role they inhabit in the Air and Space Forces.

“This is a great opportunity for people who did not serve in the Air Force,” Mr Fattor said. “I felt like an outsider learning to fly.”

Attending ALS gives Airmen, civilians, and non-Air Force prior military a better understanding of how leadership works in the Air Force and what makes an Airman. 

“The on-boarding process the USAF civilians experience does not compare to formal training,” said Maj. Robert Jensen, 58th Maintenance Squadron commander. “It is worth having civilians complete a ‘big blue’ formal training course to grant them a reference point to deal with active-duty and Total Force Integration military members in their work centers.”