Six questions with the new 307th Development and Training Flight manager

  • Published
  • By 307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
  • 307th Bomb Wing

Tech Sgt. Danielle Johnson, the new 307th Bomb Wing Development and Training Flight manager, has a lot to offer the unit's trainees. 

A teacher by trade, she has the pedagogy and organizational skills to handle more than 50 potential Airmen in the flight, all trying to gain as much knowledge about the Air Force as possible before leaving for Basic Military Training. 

But Johnson has more to offer than just head knowledge. Her backstory is one of resilience, overcoming personal and professional setbacks to achieve greatness and give back to an Air Force she insisted has given her so much. 

She also brings experience and education to bear in her new role. Johnson's Air Force career took her from roles in Public Health to Aircrew and Flight Equipment. She holds a Master's degree in Education and has won numerous awards in her military career. 

We sat down with Tech. Sgt. Johnson to find out more about her role as the new D&TF manager. 

Q: You have a great deal of experience in education. How do you think that will translate to your new role? 

A: Having the experience of managing large groups will be beneficial. Also, there's a lot of data tracking in education. I feel like I can use my skills to analyze and collect information to help the trainees in D&TF identify their strengths and weaknesses, so we can really hone in on individualizing the curriculum to best prepare them for their upcoming challenges at BMT and Tech School and ultimately supply our wing and Air Force with better Airmen.

Q: What are some of your goals as a manager? 

A. Preparing trainees for Basic Military Training is always a priority. But with COVID-19, we have many trainees that have been in the flight longer than expected. So, we want to keep them excited about the Air Force, as well. Keeping them motivated is going to be a key piece. Retention and preparation are my main areas of focus.

Q: How do you go about doing that? 

A: I hope that sharing my story and the story of other Airmen and what the Air Force has done for them will keep them engaged. The Air Force has done everything for me. It paid for my daughter's medical bills and my education. It has afforded me extra income and allowed me to travel. My decision to serve took me from a dark place and gave me a route out.

A lot of our trainees can relate to that. Some are looking at the Air Force as a way to improve their lives, and others are looking for the camaraderie and travel it can offer.

Q: Beyond your background as a teacher and mentor, why did you decide to apply for the D&TF manager position? 

I've always been intrigued by the program. When I came into the Air Force, there was nothing like it. 

My recruiter signed me up, and I didn't see him other than going to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). I didn't know what I was in for, so basic training was like a slap in the face because there was no preparation.

This program prepares trainees so they can go into BMT with some confidence.

I also applied because I'm passionate about the Air Force and excited about some of the opportunities available to the trainees. Being a part of their story will be very rewarding.

Q: Your story is one of resilience. How do you impart the same can-do attitude you've shown in your career to the trainees. 

A: Giving them a vision of what their life can be like and sharing the benefits they will get from being in the Air Force will help. I think part of it, too, is sharing in some of my setbacks. I want to give them practical ideas and let them know how important it is to keep pushing forward. Because I didn't quit trying, I now have the opportunity to work with them and help them in their careers. Getting to know them will give me an idea of what drives each of them. Whether they are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated by the benefits of the Air Force, it will be part of my job to mentor them and teach them to hold on to that motivation when times are tough. Basic training won’t be easy, but their hard work will pay off.

Q: How would you describe your philosophy on leadership and learning? 

A: My ideas on leadership revolve around having a shared vision. I'm very big on communication. I need to communicate my expectations, but the other half of communication is just as important, and that is listening. I need to understand their concerns, questions, and expectations. If everyone is on the same page with the same mission and vision, it always leads to a more effective organization.

As for learning, I'm not a PowerPoint teacher. I prefer hands-on, kinesthetic learning and really getting to know the people I work with. It's the only way for me to understand their learning styles. Research has shown most people prefer hands-on learning, but there are auditory and visual learners. So, knowing each trainee's preference helps me cater to their learning style, and best serve them.