Airman Dorm Leaders build strong foundations

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Leonid Soubbotine
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

The occupation of Airman dorm leader is a special duty position created to continue development of new Airmen to support their journey and guide them at their first base, once their technical training is completed.

Working with Airmen and maintaining several buildings with a total of 834 rooms on an installation with a high deployment tempo requires a continuous team effort of coordination and management – leaving the six ADLs to play an important role in supporting over 600 new Airmen residing in the dorms at Moody AFB.

“We in-process, out-process and track all the airmen that are coming to and from the base,” Linear said. “We make sure that everyone has a room and facilitate the whole process.”

While a key part of the job is focused on the housing of unaccompanied Airmen, ADLs often play a vital role in shaping the lives of new Airmen by providing mentorship, direction and advice.

“It’s important that we make sure Airmen have adequate places to live,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Linear, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron ADL. “But for me, dorm managers act as, in some cases, a supervisor, a mentor or just someone with experience that isn't in the Airman's work section. I think that is probably the most important part of this job.”

To be able to help the new Airmen and manage the facilities efficiently, ADLs must assemble a well-rounded team. Experience and job variety of potential non-commissioned officer candidates are taken into consideration when selecting ADLs.

“We want experienced NCOs, because they are going to be the face of what the operational Air Force is when these Airmen come here,” Linear said. “We need people to be able to deal with all different life situations.”

With a fast-paced mission and high job expectations, it can be easy to overlook the challenges new Airmen face and differences that come with their varied backgrounds.

“In the military, we talk about a continuum of change,” said Master Sgt. Andrea Kent, 23rd CES unaccompanied housing superintendent. “This is the first time that you've had a little bit of freedom in the military, but you still have a catch net to help you learn things, help you continue to become an adult, learn how to deal with things before you move out of the dorms and start living your real life … the ADL position sits there to help guide them.”

Witnessing the enthusiasm and passion displayed by the Airmen on their new journeys can invigorate seasoned NCOs, offering fresh perspectives beyond their usual career fields, Kent explained.

“It makes me really happy,” she said. “It renews my spirit to see how excited they are about the Air Force.”

Reflecting on her own career, Kent encourages the next generation of service members to seize opportunities and take courageous leaps.

“If I could pass on any wisdom, it'd be to take every opportunity – don't worry about all the what ifs,” she said. “The opportunity presented itself for a reason; I wish people would be more courageous, because you could go to really great places.”