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AF senior NCO graduates Coast Guard academy with honors

Master Sgt. Ron Pompa recently graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy in Petaluma, Calif., earning the Spirit of the Chief Award as the school's top graduate. Sergeant Pompa, from the Air Force Personnel Center's Directorate of Assignments, applied for the alternative academy through an Air Force program that enables up to 74 Airmen to attend professional military education at sister service academies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. James Brabenec)

Master Sgt. Ron Pompa recently graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy in Petaluma, Calif., earning the Spirit of the Chief Award as the school's top graduate. Sergeant Pompa, from the Air Force Personnel Center's Directorate of Assignments, applied for the alternative academy through an Air Force program that enables up to 74 Airmen to attend professional military education at sister service academies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. James Brabenec)

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- For one Air Force senior noncommissioned officer, the Air Force "re-bluing" process that comes with attending professional military education came with an aquamarine twist.

Master Sgt. Ron Pompa recently completed the U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy at the Coast Guard Training Center in Petaluma, Calif., and earned top graduate honors in a class of 65 students.

Sergeant Pompa, from the Air Force Personnel Center's Directorate of Assignments, received the Spirit of the Chief Award, the Coast Guard's equivalent to the John Levitow Award. In addition, he was named an honorary chief (E-7) of the Coast Guard.

"To live and learn with these Coast Guard personnel was one of the best things I have ever done and a total career-broadening experience," said Sergeant Pompa, one of four Airmen selected to attend the class. "The Coasties welcomed us aboard with open arms, and from day one, we were their shipmates."

While applying for the Air Force Senior NCO Academy, he was notified of this alternative and became one of up to 74 Airmen selected each year to attend PME at sister service academies. Additional information is available 24/7 through the AFPC "Ask" Web site on each of the other four services senior NCO academies.

In addition to teaching many of the same subjects as Air Force PME, Sergeant Pompa said the Coast Guard's focus on teamwork complemented his Air Force training.

"The Coast Guard solely operates on teamwork in everything they do. Every lesson, every speech, every training session was developed around the team concept or some type of team-building activity," he said.

As he prepares to deploy and serve in another joint environment, Sergeant Pompa's immersion into the Coast Guard's culture, heritage, organization and language, gave him a deeper appreciation for the service.

"The Coast Guard is out there on the front lines every day standing watch over America, her people and her interests," he said, "and they do a fantastic job carrying out their crucial missions."

For more information on senior NCO PME opportunities logon to the AFPC "Ask" Web site or call (800) 616-3775.