SCOTT AFB, ILLINOIS -- Three Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command civilian employees graduated from the Air Mobility Command Civilian Leadership Development Program here, May 30.

Bethany Himel, a traffic management specialist, Anthony McKee, an occupational safety and health manager, and Gary Shuler, a logistics management specialist, joined the more than 250 graduates since the course's inception in 2008.

The program, open to high-performing Scott Air Force Base GS-11 to GS-13 civilian employees, intends to improve participants' leadership skills through a broader understanding of the AMC mission, organizational structure and key business activities.

Directors nominate civilians during the CLDP call each spring. In turn, nominees must submit a letter of recommendation, a resume and a copy of his or her civilian career brief. From there, applications are reviewed and selected by senior AMC civilians based on professional military education, assignments, appraisals, awards, education, training and director remarks. Selectees then meet monthly over the course of a year.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Jon Thomas, AMC deputy commander, praised supervisors for supporting the program and showing the initiative to nominate participants. He also thanked them for providing the time and opportunity for program completion.

Addressing graduates, Thomas said, "This program is an investment. You got loaded up with a set of tools. Put it to work. I am proud to be pulling on oars in the same boat."

As an Army retiree and current Army civilian, Shuler said the most valuable part of the program for him was being able to interact with peers from another service. "I learned so much of what the Air Force does," he said. "I will utilize the experience to teach, train and mentor."

McKee said he appreciated the value of honing essential leadership tools and the added benefit of networking opportunities.

"I also found the depth of knowledge and resources instilled by working in the Air Mobility Command environment significantly enhanced my understanding and value for the mission Air Mobility Command has," he said.

Shuler's advice to civilians interested in a future iteration of the program is to "have an open mind and learn from your peers as well as the mentors."