Polish soldiers gain valuable experience attending USASMA
Special to The Monitor
The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy is the last and the most prestigious level of professional noncommissioned officer education in the Army, but for the many international students who attend, it is not necessarily so.
Of the 665 students who make up Sergeants Major Course Class 59, 46 are international students who represent 32 countries. Most of them are at the beginning or middle of their careers. Three such students are Chief Warrant Officers Radoslaw “Jack” Borysewicz, Rafal “Ski” Glogowski and Marek “Mark” Ruzala, all from Poland.
Each of them is different; each has his own story. But for every one of them, attendance at the academy is a special opportunity.
Borysewicz, 32, a native of Wroclaw, is an instructor in the Land Forces Military Academy. He began his career in 2000.
“I volunteered for compulsorily service in the Polish army and after six months I decided to try passing exams to attend the Polish Warrant Officers College in Poznan,” said Borysewicz, adding that in the Polish army, warrant officers are part of the NCO Corps. “After two years of training at the college I started my regular military career. From the very beginning I knew that I wanted to go abroad and have some international experience, so I learned English.”
To train with the American Army, Polish soldiers are obliged to pass additional English Comprehension Level tests, Borysewicz said. The tests are given through the U. S. Embassy in Warsaw.
“In 2005 I passed the exams and then went to Grafenwoer, Germany, to attend the U.S. Army’s Primary Leadership Development Course,” said Borysewicz. “Then in 2006 I was chosen for the Basic NCO Course.”
Borysewicz explained that Polish soldiers have two ways of completing PLDC, BNCOC and the Advanced NCO Course: going to Germany or to the United States. After attending BNCOC, Borysewicz said he knew he wanted more American training.
“My goal was to train at USASMA,” he said. “It wasn’t easy to achieve, however. I had to be the best. I first tried in 2007, then in 2008, and this time I succeeded.”
Only students with the best results are selected, he explained. Once selected, it was a quick notification to move out.
“I had just two weeks to pack, finish all things in Poland and go abroad, leaving my life, friends and family,” said Borysewicz.
Along with the selection to attend the academy, Borysewicz was also selected to attend the Defense Language Institute, a nine-week course taught in San Antonio that helped to prepare him for his American schooling. This required him to travel to the U.S. ahead of his family. After his graduation from DLI, his family was able to accompany him to USASMA.
Glogowski, 36, hails from Poznan and is an NCO evaluator in the Land Forces Training Center. The beginning of his career was similar to Borysewicz’s.
“My military career started in 1992 when I was drafted to the army on my birthday, April 29,” said Glogowski. “In August of that year I passed exams for attendance to the Polish Warrant Officers College. After two years I became the tank platoon leader. Then in 1998 I heard that there is a possibility for Polish soldiers to train with the U.S. Army.”
Like Borysewicz, Glogowski was selected to attend U.S. Army NCOES schools.
“I first went to America in 2006 for BNCOC and ANCOC in Fort Benning, [Georgia]; it was hard because I had to take exams four times, and on the the fourth time I succeeded in passing it and being selected to attend the schools,” said Glogowski. “In 2008 I took the test for the Sergeants Major Academy. When I passed it, I had four weeks to prepare myself to go across the ocean.”
Unfortunately, not all Polish soldiers get to take their families with them, and Glogowski is one of those Soldiers. There are different reasons for this, he explained. His family did get the opportunity to visit him on Christmas. He now looks forward to his future assignment in Poland and using the experiences he gained at the academy.
“When I finish USASMA, I will go back to my unit where I have a chance to teach instructors what I have been taught,” said Glogowski. “I have seen here many solutions which I would like to introduce in my unit. My goal, however, is to become a command sergeant major in my unit, and this course gives me a chance to achieve it.”
Ruzala, 35, lives and works in Malbork. He is the command sergeant major of the 41st Tactical Air Squadron. He is also a graduate of the Polish Warrant Officer College, graduating in 1996 and then moving on to be a platoon leader.
Because of changes in the warrant officer program for the Polish army, Ruzala said he took his desire to continue his military service to the Polish air force in 2001.
“I was selected by the air force commander,” he said. “I still had to pass all the exams to get in.”
Like his comrades, Ruzala’s notification to attend the academy was on short notice.
“I had just three weeks to pack and go,” he said. “My family joined me three months later.”
Not all Soldiers are sponsored to have their families travel with them to the United States, said Ruzala. Many, like himself, had to pay travel costs out of their own pockets, but he said his future in Poland is bright and he has already set a new goal for himself.
“When I finish the academy I will still work at the same post,” he said. “They are waiting for me in my unit. But the experience I have gained here, I will use in my own unit by teaching platoon leaders and instructing officers. The education here will also help me to get a post within [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], which, if I get it, will be an important experience of my career.”
Borysewicz, Glogowski and Ruzala said they are all proud of their country’s army. By attending USASMA, they said they now have new aims to achieve when they return home, possibly following in the footsteps of Mariusz Piwonski, a 2005 USASMA graduate who is currently the sergeant major of the Polish army.