MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — When Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Goll first sat in the Navy chief’s leadership development course, he didn’t know about that service’s rates or much of its lingo.

After two weeks mingling among sailors of his rank — E-7 — he learned to appreciate Navy tradition, the cohesiveness of its senior enlisted corps and its style of discipline. That helps since he commands some sailors in the 35th Security Forces Squadron.

“I really didn’t know what to expect. I just knew the Navy and Air Force did things differently,” he said. Now, “I can talk to my sailors and know what I’m talking about.”

At one of the only shared Air Force-Navy bases in the Pacific — it’s an air base with a large Navy presence — sailors and airmen are sitting in each other’s leadership training classes learning how their respective services operate and getting to know each other.

The cooperative effort began six weeks ago when Navy Command Master Chief Michael McCarthy approached Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Frank Smith, both the top enlisted people in their commands.

“Believe it or not, we live across the street from each other,” McCarthy said.

They casually compared differences between their services and realized the benefit of learning from one another. That sparked a plan.

Noncommissioned officers in both services take leadership development courses to advance in rank.

The courses differ: The Air Force has a longer program with tests and grades and requires public speaking; the Navy is more casual and focuses on creating a uniform leadership standard.

When the next Air Force E-4 course came up with two empty spots, McCarthy and Smith arranged it so two servicemembers were invited — the sailors of the quarter from two Navy commands.

“They teach you how to handle different situations,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Mosenthin, an equipment operator and one of the sailors who took the Air Force class.

Mosenthin learned how to handle different personalities and even how to watch for signs of suicide.

“I think it improved my leadership abilities,” he said. “And I’m a much better public speaker.”

He also learned about the Air Force. “I didn’t realize they deploy so much,” he said.

Mosenthin gained a new respect for the Air Force, he added. He also found there’s a lot the Navy does that’s more to his liking. It was the first time he really worked with airmen.

“My friends are all Navy or Japanese,” he said.

Master Sgt. Carlos Pineiro joined the Navy Chief’s (E-7) leadership course when four spots opened up.

“I just wanted to see what the differences were,” he said. “The Navy epitomizes the senior NCO.”

Pineiro hopes his fellow master sergeants can develop a closeness similar to that of chiefs, who eat together on ships and have their own clubs on some bases.

He also likes the chiefs’ ability to collectively discipline sailors, rather than the Air Force requirement of using more paperwork.

“It’s a good way to share management styles,” said Chief Petty Officer Richard Sims, an aviation electrician with Patrol Squadron 4.

McCarthy said the cooperative learning probably will continue.

“It shows the versatility of a joint atmosphere,” he said. “They can apply it here or in the future. It’s going to just strengthen our leadership in the end.”

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