Fort Sill team partners with USASMA, 11th ADA Bde. for ALC
Staff Sgt. Norman Llamas,
11th ADA Bde. Public Affairs:
The Fires Center of Excellence Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Fort Sill, Okla., in partnership with the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy and 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, conducted an Advanced Leader Course graduation ceremony at a Sergeants Major Academy auditorium July 20.
Normally, all Air Defense Artillery Career Management Field 14 Soldiers attend Noncommissioned Officer Education System training at the Fires Center of Excellence Noncommissioned Officer Academy, but at the request of 11th ADA Bde., the Fort Sill NCO Academy sent a mobile training team here to teach ALC class 703-12.
The aim for holding the ALC class here was to have the Soldiers attending the class remain local. Having the team here at Fort Bliss helped the Soldiers’ families significantly by not having to deal with their absence for the six weeks it takes to complete the class.
Command Sgt. Maj. Byron Ferguson, brigade command sergeant major, officiated the ceremony. He congratulated the graduates on a job well done and thanked their families for their unwavering support and ceremony attendance.
Ferguson also thanked all the battalion command sergeants major and commanders for attending the ceremony before introducing the guest speaker, Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip D. Pandy, garrison command sergeant major.
“You are in the best position to make a difference,” said Pandy. “It’s not someone else. It’s not another time. It’s not someone else [who] can do it; you are the future of the Army and it’s your time. You’re going to make a difference by being empowered NCOs.”
Pandy shared a short story about a movie in which an individual had to motivate others to accomplish a mission, and he accomplished the task through “inspired leadership.” Pandy told the graduates that inspired leadership makes a difference, but as NCOs, they need to be engaged and, most of all, responsible.
“We have a challenge right now,” Pandy told the graduates. “Suicide rates in the Army are high and coupled with all the strained resources, and it makes for challenging times for us right now. You’re facing a different set of challenges and circumstance, but it’s still the same mission.”
Pandy thanked everyone for attending the ceremony, especially thanking the instructors and the families of the graduates.
“The most important thing here is to recognize our unsung heroes, our families,” said Pandy. “Every Army professional here today can say that every success or achievement is directly related to our families, the unsung heroes in the audience.
“Although ceremonies are routine for us, they are very important because of a couple reasons,” Pandy continued. “One, because it’s important to stop to celebrate and recognize the significance of this type of event in a Soldier’s career; but more importantly, it means more than just completing another repetition in one’s career. Second, to thank all the families and leadership who helped all along the way.”
For their part, the Fort Sill instructors were happy to have been given the opportunity to teach somewhere new. Familiarizing themselves with all the new training areas was their biggest challenge, but the support of their fellow NCOs from 11th ADA Bde. helped them overcome that challenge quickly.
“Overall, the classroom setting and everything else were not much different here at Fort Bliss,” said Sgt. 1st Class Charles L. Robinson, senior small group leader with the Fires Center of Excellence NCOA. “Some challenges we had were with equipment availability, such as the lack of pyrotechnics, but we used whistles instead. Basically, improvise to overcome.”
Staff Sgt. Robert White, small group leader also with the Fires Center of Excellence NCOA, said although he had a larger group in his classroom than he normally does, he enjoyed the opportunity of being able to teach at another post.
Staff Sgt. Jessica Llavet, another Fort Sill small group leader, was the third member of the MTT from Fort Sill.
“The students were very eager and willing to learn,” said Llavet.
The class’s distinguished honor graduate was Staff Sgt. Carl J. Johnson, a Patriot enhanced operator/maintainer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery.
“The course was challenging because of the academics taught and all the field tactics that were involved, but at the same time, having an MTT … come down to teach the class here was very helpful because that meant we didn’t have to leave our families for the six weeks the course takes to complete,” said Johnson. “The field training we went through showed us some of the available training sites around this post that we can use later to train our Soldiers.”
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