DVIDS – News – LEVEL UP! Indiana service members attend the 2022 Enlisted Leadership Symposium

Service members from across the state of Indiana came together to network and hone their leadership skills during the 2022 Indiana Enlisted Leadership Symposium at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, October 17-20.

The four-day ELS event focuses on the professional development of government officials through hands-on labs, workshops and briefings from leaders and partners.

“This is an event to continue their growth throughout their career path,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert C. Hackett, command chief of the 181st Intelligence Wing. “It’s more of a face-to-face thing. It is more of an open forum than a class work forum.”

Sessions covered topical issues ranging from mental and physical health, to military and family resources, to current events and policies affecting military members and the military at large.

“Like new [non-commissioned officer], I have Airmen under me now,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Hannah L. Willger, 122nd Logistics Readiness Squadron. “I thought it would be beneficial to gain more skills and knowledge of what it really takes to be a leader, as well as some other perks that I could take advantage of.”

Networking and the experience of assignments outside of the normal day-to-day business are very important at ELS. Indiana’s ELS originated as an Indiana Air National Guard-specific event, with 2022 being the first year in which the Indiana Army National Guard and Air Force Reserves participated.

“If you want to be a part of this event in the future, join the planning committee, we need your ideas,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael E. Dixon, Jr., Indiana Air National Guard command chief. “Soldiers and Reservists, we want you to also be part of this planning committee onboard so we can tailor it to a more shared sentiment.”

“I’ve never taken a leadership course outside of the army, so I was really interested [ELS] because I would like to get other perspectives,” said Army Staff Sgt. Jenna Burks, 38th Infantry Division. “I came away with a new perspective on views from other industries’ perspectives and how differently we deal with some situations.”

During the symposium, service members took notes and discussed with key leaders at the state and national levels.

This list included:

– Army Maj. Gen. R. Dale Lyles, Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard.
– Air Force Colonel Charles T. Goad, commander of the 181st Intelligence Wing.
– Air Force Colonel Joshua C. Waggoner, commander of the 122nd Fighter Squadron.
– Army Commander Sgt. Maj. Dale A. Shetler, senior commander of the Indiana National Guard.
– Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael E. Dixon, Jr., Chief of Command, Indiana Air National Guard.
– Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth M. Bruce Jr., command chief of the 16th Air Force (Air Forces Cyber).
– Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Christopher E. Muncy, former Air National Guard commando chief.

A key aspect of the event was access to strategic-level leadership, said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kyle D. Hoopingarner, command chief of the 122nd Fighter Squadron.

“These are people sharing stories about strategic thinking at their level and just really turning that type of thinking on its head. I think a lot of us [service members] understanding why we do what we do and understanding emerging threats that we have around the world is a big thing they’re getting this week.”

The goal of ELS is for the next generation of hired leaders across the state of Indiana to hone their skills, expand their networks, and add tools to their leadership toolkit.

“They are the future,” Dixon said. “We spent a lot of time talking about change and innovation. It starts with them, it doesn’t come from a 49-year-old commando chief. My innovation days are probably nowhere near their potential.”





Date of recording: 11/18/2022
Release Date: 11/18/2022 1:41 PM
Story ID: 433550
Location: CAMP ATTERBURY, IN, US



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