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Professional Development Office helps troops succeed

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- In today's Air Force, certain things are expected of its members. 

In addition to excelling in the work area, the Air Force expects its Airmen to pursue higher education and become a presence in the community. 

The 16th Air Command and Control Squadron's Professional Development Office was designed to assist Airmen with these pursuits. 

"The office is used to develop well-rounded Airman," said Staff Sgt. Bruce Klima, 16th ACCS member and developer of the PDO. "This includes helping with educational pursuits like the Community College of the Air Force degree and a wide range of volunteer opportunities throughout the local community." 

Because of flying schedules, 16th ACCS Airmen can volunteer to work in the office during duty hours and learn not only how to better themselves through education and volunteer work but also how to become better NCOs. 

"I personally try to stay in the shadows of the office; my goal is to empower the airman that work in the PDO to step up to the next level and to help them develop the future leadership skills that they will need as NCOs," Sergeant Klima said. "They have all done just that and have exceeded all of my expectations. I could not have been blessed with a better group of Airmen. For the most part the office is completely run by the airmen for the Airmen, and I wouldn't have it any other way." 

The idea for the office came while Sergeant Klima was deployed in support of the War on Terror. 

"The motivation for starting the PDO, started in the desert," Sergeant Klima said. "We had a huge push of CLEP tests being taken in the desert, during which Senior Master Sgt. Steven Helms, prior operations superintendent for the 16th ACCS now with the 330th Combat Training Squadron, said that maybe I should look into setting up an office for this back home. From there it just snowballed into what it is today."
The drive for Staff Sgt. Klima to get this office up and running was merely to help his fellow service members better themselves. 

"The main motivation for me was while I was deployed," Sergeant Klima said. "I came to find out that many people didn't know how easy it could be to complete their CCAF. I felt that the PDO office could be a way to help people in the squadron and build a stronger more well-round enlisted core. Also with the new rule of needing a CCAF degree to get a Senior Rater Endorsement, setting up programs to help aid our Airmen in the pursuit of their CCAF is the right thing to do." 

In the short time the office has been available to members; there have already been huge results. 

"Since its creation on Feb. 1, 2007 and under the leadership of Senior Airman Kevie Smith, Air Operations Technician, the office has raised $1,364 for the squadron," said Senior Master Sgt. Helms. "Through this office, squadron personnel have also volunteered at 18 community service events, which include events for the Georgia Industrial Children's Home, Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together with Christmas in April, Russell Elementary and Perdue Elementary." 

Huge strides have also been made on the education side of the office. 

"Senior Airman Trenton Franklin, the chief of the educational side of the office, raised $970 to build the Professional Development Library, which currently includes 55 books from the 2006 to 2007 Chief of Staff of the Air Force read list," said Sergeant Helms. "The library also includes many CLEP study guides to promote self-improvement among individuals in the squadron." 

The office is available to not only 16th ACCS members but to everyone in the wing. For more information on the PDO call 201-2145.