Leadership Moody Builds Leaders

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Kaitlin Toner
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

“The leadership experience I received was second to none. There is no other Air Force program available that provides this type of leadership experience.” 

Master Sgt. Joseph Lujan Jr., 23d Operations Support Squadron intelligence superintendent, was one of 20 senior noncommissioned officers, field grade officers, and civilian equivalents to complete and graduate from Leadership Moody last year. This year, he serves as the program’s cadre.

This year’s Leadership Moody class took to the town, March 9, 2018, in Valdosta, Ga., to hear from several civic leaders about leadership, techniques, best practices and lessons learned.

Leadership Moody strives to diversify the knowledge and skillsets of its students to become better leaders and better Airmen.

Students in the program are selected after an extensive application and interview process. Once selected, they enter the nine-month program where they are brought downtown on one “class day” per month to listen and learn from civic leaders to expand their knowledge and learn to think outside the box.

“The Leadership Moody experience provides us a differing view of leadership, although similar in many regards, from our civic and local leaders, enabling us to see other ways to deal with difficult situations,” said Lujan


“A good leader should be able to tailor their approach to leadership through the lens of the situation.  Leaders should garner as many leadership tools as they can to ensure success.”


According to Lujan, there is no singular approach to leadership and throughout the day, the students learned many different techniques and practices.


For Lester Paulk, Lowndes County Sheriff, integrity is the pinnacle of leadership.


“If you want to get fired by Lester Paulk, tell a lie,” said Paulk. “I will not tolerate a lie.”

For others, integrity is important, but also compassion.


“If we don’t get it right, we make it right” said Keira Moritz, a Valdosta business owner, of her policy on customer service and dealing with people.

This resonated with the students of Leadership Moody as they drew similarities between their own units and the businesses they saw.

Moritz’s policy made its way into the “hot wash” at the end of the class day. Many of the students concluded that Mortiz’s policy was something they could bring back to their squadrons to improve the way Airmen think about work.

The Air Force aims to instill a culture where Airmen believe that people are their greatest assets. The Leadership Moody students concluded that “making it right” was one of the most important lessons they could instill in their Airmen.  People are only human and they do not always have to get it right, but they should always make it right.

According to Lujan, the Leadership Moody experience and learning does not stop at the hot wash.


“Ultimately, the class members should take the lessons they have learned and bring them back to their unit and team and share them, thus affecting a larger population,” said Lujan.

“People may not always take your advice or lessons learned, and may have to learn on their own, but it can open their eyes and give them a wider perspective,” said Master Sgt. Valarie Preston, Airman Leadership School commandant and current Leadership Moody student.

With diversity in leadership and techniques, the students of Leadership Moody are sure to bring back plenty of lessons and knowledge to ensure the program’s continuation for years to come and, hopefully, its expansion.

“I wanted to ensure that this program received continuity for long-term success,” said Lujan, “with the hope that it would take off Air Force-wide.”