PME Commandant Challenge held, restoration celebrated

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alan Ricker
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

Noncommissioned Officer Academy students, instructors, first sergeants, and chief council members participated in the Binnicker Professional Military Education Center Commandant Challenge on April 20.

The challenge event, including judged skits, tug-of-war and volleyball, served as a final team building and mentorship event to earn points for the honor flight program.

“The honor flight program [occurs] throughout the duration of the course,” said Tech. Sgt. Dominique Gastelum, 15th Wing PME NCOA and Airman Leadership School instructor. “It is encouraging the flights to come together — esprit de corps — supporting the camaraderie within the flight.”

Out of seven flights, one is announced as the honor flight at the graduation ceremony, where they will earn recognition for their team efforts, which is held the day after the challenge.

According to Gastelum, this was the largest challenge event he’s been a part of since being an instructor on Hickam’s PME team. He mentioned it was due to them also celebrating the restoration of their outdoor volleyball court.

The First Sergeants’ Council members, Hickam Officers’ Spouse’ Club, and the Chiefs’ Council came together to renovate the volleyball court over a four-week period.

“The motivation was to make it available for classes, but also to have [the courts] available for the Professional Development Center and for the Airmen in the dorms and surrounding area,” said Tech. Sgt. Lyndsay Veerkamp, 15th WG PME and ALS instructor.

A four-hour volunteer event was held in March to restore the volleyball courts to include replacing the nets, boundary lines and tilling the sand.

“Since we’ve restored the court, we’ve seen all kinds of people coming over using it,” said Gastelum. “Last week we saw a lot of U.S.Navy sailors playing volleyball for an hour and a half.”

The courts are available for all base personnel to use daily and it is planned to be continually utilized by an estimated 700 ALS and NCOA students annually.