Hanscom ALS enrolls first civilian student

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Instructors from the Hanscom Airman Leadership School are continuing to develop the total force by enrolling a civilian student for the first time in the school’s history.  

Aidan Conlon, a contracting specialist for the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Integration Directorate here, is attending the five-week professional military education course focused on developing leadership abilities, the profession of arms and building effective communication.

Graduation is an enlisted member’s first step to becoming a front-line supervisor.

Schoolhouse officials said classroom openings are prioritized for active duty, Guard and Reserve Air Force members. U.S. Coast Guard and Navy personnel have also graduated through Hanscom’s ALS, and leaders hope to create more opportunities for civilian members.

“My supervisors told me it would be a great opportunity, so I applied for the opening and was lucky enough to be selected,” said Conlon.

Conlon began working at Hanscom in October 2021 and had no prior knowledge of what Airman Leadership School entailed. Now halfway through the course, he describes his experience with his enlisted counterparts as “eye-opening.”

“It’s been great to see how they operate and what’s expected of them day to day, and I’ve been able to share what my mission looks like as a civilian,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re all working for the Air Force and now we have a better idea of what the other needs to do their job.”

Instructors and leaders from the 66th Air Base Group say the integrated perspectives can only strengthen the leadership capabilities of those in the classroom and they hope to offer more opportunities for joint learning environments.

“My career has been shaped by civilian leadership and mentorship,” said Chief Master Sgt. Alan Weary, installation command chief. “Having a civilian perspective in a formal classroom setting has tremendous value. Anytime students have an integrated learning experience, they leave better equipped to lead teams and problem-solve.

Conlon said the most insightful lessons have been about taking care of people, and he’s looking forward to bringing the material back to his office.

“I feel like I have a better idea of how to lead people in a meaningful way,” he said.

Conlon and the rest of Hanscom ALS Class 22G are slated to graduate Oct. 27 during a ceremony at the Minuteman Commons here at 3 p.m.