Position Type: Command Staff
Minimum Grade: C/Amn
Maximum Grade: C/CMSgt
Role Description: Element leader is the entry-level leadership position on the cadet staff. Their key responsibility is to assist the flight commander and flight sergeant by taking charge of the members of an element (4 or 5 cadets, on average). Although the element leader occupies the lowest rung in the cadet chain of command, their job is incredibly important because they are the first person basic cadets should turn to for guidance.
Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Prepare the Element for Inspection.
    One of your basic jobs is to make sure your cadets are ready to participate in cadet events. How does that duty relate to inspections? You want your cadets to perform well, so you should spot-check their appearance and help them make any last minute adjustments to their uniform.
  • Debrief the Element After Inspection.
    Following the inspection, check to see if any cadets need help improving their uniform. Work with each cadet and make sure they understand what they need to do to meet the uniform standards. And of course, take a positive approach by praising cadets who perform well.
  • Pass on Information.
    Take note of your squadron’s training schedule. Make sure your cadets know what events are coming up and tell them how to prepare. For example, if you’re told that next week will be physical fitness training, remind cadets to bring their PT uniforms. In short, as an element leader, always keep your people informed. Talk with them between meetings through emails and IMs.
  • Motivate the Element.
    Attitudes are contagious. Keep a positive attitude and lead by example. Encourage cadets to study before tests. Cheer them on during PT. Congratulate them when they earn promotions. Get to know your cadets well enough so that you can read their moods. If you notice a cadet is becoming frustrated or discouraged, motivate them and help them get back on track.
  • Lead in Drill.
    You’ll be called on to fulfill two key responsibilities in drill. First, because you fall-in on the right side of the formation, your cadets will base their alignment off of you. If your alignment is off, you will cause the whole element to be off, too. Second, the flight sergeant may call on you to coach your cadets as they learn new drill movements. This aspect of your job requires you to become an expert in drill and also a patient leader who can help cadets learn drill commands one step at a time.
  • Answer Questions.
    Let your cadets know that if they have a question, you are the first person they should turn to for answers. Keep Your Superiors Informed. Tell your flight sergeant how your cadets are doing. If they need extra time for training, or if they have questions you do not know how to answer, ask your flight sergeant for help. If you notice a major safety issue, or you think one of your cadets is facing a serious problem, let a senior member know right away.