Network 5/6: NCOs making a difference

Members of Network 5/6 poses for a group photo during Winter Bash 2015 at the fitness center at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 26, 2015. The "network" is a non-profit, professional military organization on Grand Forks AFB, N.D. Its membership is made up primarily by enlisted service members in the pay grades of E-5 to E-6. The overall purpose of the Network 5/6 is to build a network of E-5s and E-6s to share ideas, provide mentorship, and address concerns that impact the enlisted force as well as the Air Force. The Network 5/6 is focused on improving morale and the quality of life for all enlisted members assigned to Grand Forks AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez)

Members of Network 5/6 poses for a group photo during Winter Bash 2015 at the fitness center at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 26, 2015. The "network" is a non-profit, professional military organization on Grand Forks AFB, N.D. Its membership is made up primarily by enlisted service members in the pay grades of E-5 to E-6. The overall purpose of the Network 5/6 is to build a network of E-5s and E-6s to share ideas, provide mentorship, and address concerns that impact the enlisted force as well as the Air Force. The Network 5/6 is focused on improving morale and the quality of life for all enlisted members assigned to Grand Forks AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez)

Network 5/6  logo in RGB color with drop shadow and 3D effects. Commercial reproduction of this emblem is NOT permitted without the permission of the proponent organization and or head of Network 5/6. The "network" is a non-profit, professional military organization on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. Its membership is made up primarily by enlisted service members in the pay grades of E-5 to E-6. Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Air Force Enlisted Force Structure Section 4.1.12 states enlisted Airmen are to, "promote esprit de corps and foster good community relations by actively participating in and supporting professional organizations as well as unit, base, and Air Force events. Also encourage subordinates to do the same." (Graphic by Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez)

Network 5/6 logo in RGB color with drop shadow and 3D effects. Commercial reproduction of this emblem is NOT permitted without the permission of the proponent organization and or head of Network 5/6. The "network" is a non-profit, professional military organization on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. Its membership is made up primarily by enlisted service members in the pay grades of E-5 to E-6. Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Air Force Enlisted Force Structure Section 4.1.12 states enlisted Airmen are to, "promote esprit de corps and foster good community relations by actively participating in and supporting professional organizations as well as unit, base, and Air Force events. Also encourage subordinates to do the same." (Graphic by Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- "NCOs making a difference" is the motto of the Grand Forks Air Force Base Network 5/6, but you may ask how the Network 5/6 makes a difference.

The Network 5/6 is one of the many different professional organizations that are located here, however it is the only organization that is specifically meant for the personnel in the E-5 and E-6 ranks assigned to the installation. It has been said several times throughout my career, "NCOs are the backbone of the Air Force" and this becomes very apparent when working with the Network 5/6. The Network 5/6 is led by its executive council: the president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Within the organization itself there are 12 subcommittee positions and each of these subcommittees has different duties. For example, the Airman Council Liaison committee provides mentorship and direction to the base's Airman Advisory Council which is an organization for the E-1 through E-4 ranks. They attend the Airmen's meetings and advise them on things such as organization, financial management, and airman-to-airman mentorship.

The overall purpose of the Network 5/6 is to build a network of E-5s and E-6s to share ideas, provide mentorship, and address concerns that impact the enlisted force as well as the Air Force. The Network 5/6 is focused on improving morale and the quality of life for all enlisted members assigned to Grand Forks AFB. Additionally, the organization has many different opportunities for its members to volunteer as well as lead different projects such as clothing drives, fundraisers, and professional development seminars. Also, many of the professional education and leadership events that are run by the Network 5/6 are focused at improving the junior NCO's leadership, management, and airmanship abilities.

The Network 5/6 also provides aid and assistance to many different agencies base-wide. They are able to do this through either manpower, which is provided by the members, or through monetary support via funds raised throughout the year. This includes, but is not limited to, ALS Graduation Awards, funds donated to the Air Force Assistance Fund, mentors for various development seminars, and funds for the different activities that others put on across the base. Most recently, the Network 5/6 donated funds to a JROTC unit who needed new guidons, as well as to the annual awards ceremony.

So, why would someone become a member of the Network 5/6? Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Puryear, the current president of the Network 5/6, says that he decided to be president because he saw a few areas where he felt he could contribute to our organization and the Grand Forks community. His passion and commitment to our Airmen was a driving force in his decision. Puryear also mentioned that he was fortunate to have a few great mentors early in his career that taught him that if he wanted to change things then he would have to be the change agent. While not everyone can be elected for the presidency at the same time, there are still many additional opportunities provided by the Network 5/6 to provide mentorship as well as many different ways to improve on your leadership abilities. So if you are looking for a way to give back to your community, provide mentorship to the base's Airmen, looking for development opportunities, or just looking for a few opportunities to get out and lead people then head to the next Network 5/6 meeting and see what all the fuss is about.

The Network 5/6 has meetings every third Thursday of the month at 11 a.m., most often in the Northern Lights Club. We are looking for motivated and dedicated NCOs. So, come out, enjoy some snacks, meet the members, and engage in the improvement of our Air Force!