EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
After competing at the wing-level and being nominated all the way through to the Pacific Command, Master Sgt. Lallchan Seunarine was handpicked to attend the Singapore Enlisted Officer Training Course, which is their military’s version of the Noncommissioned Officer Academy.
One United States Air Force, Army and Navy member, along with 85 Singaporean airmen were selected to attend this joint-training opportunity.
“Seunarine’s desire to improve the unit and himself drives him to share his experiences with others and pushes them to always self-evaluate and raise the bar on expected results,” said Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Candaso, the 354th Medical Group superintendent. “When the opportunity came for him to potentially attend this training, the MDG leadership jumped at the chance to submit his name.”
Throughout the course, which took place March 27 through April 17, teamwork was the main focus.
“Within the Singapore air force, the biggest thing they teach is cohesion,” said Seunarine, the 354th Medical Operations Squadron public health flight chief. “They really push the point that you can do nothing by yourself; you fail together or you succeed together.”
During the course, Seunarine learned the strengths and weaknesses of each of his syndicate members, and they all learned how to turn their weaknesses into strengths.
“It was all about cohesion in and out of uniform,” said Seunarine. “I can take the concepts and philosophies I learned there and apply them at home station.”
Communication was no challenge. For the first five years of school, Singaporean students speak nothing but English. The difficulties for Seunarine lied in adapting to their culture.
“Singapore is still a young country and military,” said Seunarine. “Trying not to offend them and also to relate to their experiences within my own military experiences by reflection was helpful.”
Every week, the class was told to turn in reflection papers and share what they had learned and how it impacted them throughout the week.
Seunarine commented on how the course enhanced joint-service interoperability.
“It truly is a course on relationship strengthening,” said Seunarine. “We have Singapore Detachments across different bases in the Air Force, so the relationship has already been established. Sending someone to this course shows we care to keep the relationship in good standing and we want to make the effort to enhance the bond and understand their culture.”
Overall, Seunarine learned through others’ experiences. The collaboration between the Singapore air force and the U.S. Air Force shows we value our allies and are willing to continue strengthening and building rapport.
“They give you a 10,000 foot view of what to do,” said Seunarine. “But the ground is where you really do the learning.”