Soldiers of the 11th Air Defense Artillery “Imperial” Brigade stand in front of their peers July 31 as the graduating class of the Warrior Leader Course. Photo by Sgt. William Bolderson, 11th ADA Bde. Public Affairs.
Sgt. William Bolderson
11th ADA Bde. Public Affairs
Soldiers and noncommissioned officers of graduating class 13-09 gathered at Soldier Hall for the Warrior Leader Course graduation ceremony July 31.
Representatives of the 11th Air Defense Artillery “Imperial” Brigade came out to the event in support of the Soldiers, who were taking the first step in becoming true leaders. Seventeen of the brigade’s 19 Soldiers were from 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, recently returned from deployment.
WLC provides upcoming leaders with the tools necessary to take charge of a unit effectively. It does this by placing the students in situations that encourage them to apply lessons to successfully accomplish the task at hand. During the course, each Soldier is placed in a leadership position and evaluated on his or her abilities. By design, WLC is an intense course that increases the stress level, builds character and prepares Soldiers to take on the roles of first-line supervisors.
The guest speaker for the graduation ceremony was Sgt. Maj. Rodney Stephens of Headquarters and Head-quarters Company, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade.
“It doesn’t make a difference what your rank is to be a mentor,” said Stephens. “In this classroom, some of you have already stepped up to fulfill this mission.”
During the recognition of awardees, the award for distinguished honor graduate was presented to Sgt. Roberto Mendez-Perez of D Battery, 2-43 ADA, who graduated with an overall score of 97.8. Sgt. Charles Stokes of C Btry., 2-43 ADA, earned a score of 97.62 and the title of honor graduate. All Soldiers in attendance received their well-deserved certificates of completion.
“It was hard work, but I came out and represented my unit,” said Mendez-Perez, as he stood in front of his peers outside the auditorium.
Additional awards were presented by Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmie Nelson, the 11th ADA Bde. command sergeant major, to all of the “Imperial” Brigade graduates. Family, fellow Soldiers and first-line supervisors were present to congratulate the graduates on a job well done.