Tag Archives: U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy

Sergeants Major Academy holds graduation for Master Leader Course pilot class

The students Master Leader Course pilot class number 1 pose for a graduation picture on the academy grounds before attending their graduation ceremony. The 32 students were individually selected from across the regular Army, National Guard and Reserve component and represent professional NCOs from a wide range of career management fields, completed the 108-hour course of instruction over 15-days starting on October 19 and culminating with the graduation ceremony on November 2.
The students Master Leader Course pilot class number 1 pose for a graduation picture on the academy grounds before attending their graduation ceremony. The 32 students were individually selected from across the regular Army, National Guard and Reserve component and represent professional NCOs from a wide range of career management fields, completed the 108-hour course of instruction over 15-days starting on October 19 and culminating with the graduation ceremony on November 2.

For every educational or training course the Army teaches there has to be a first class. On November 2, the 32 students of the first Master Leader Course 15-day pilot class completed the 108 hours of rigorous coursework and received their diplomas during ceremonies held at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center.

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of USASMA, addressed the graduating students and asked them if the course was challenging, to which he received a rousing “Hooah”. He followed that with, “Was it too challenging?” to which he got only a couple of Hooahs.

“We wanted this to be challenging, right to that line,” Defreese said. “We never want anyone to fail. That is not the goal. The goal is to learn something. … The goal is to help you learn how to critically think and solve problems.”

Defreese explained that literally one year ago sergeant major of the Army Dan Dailey called the academy and said the chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, wanted an E-8 level course; he wanted it quickly; how long will it take?

 Master Sgt. Shawn A. Blanke of the Utah Army National Guard, receives his certificate of graduation from Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, during ceremonies November 2 in the Cooper Lecture Center. Blanke, after going through instructor training course at USASMA, will facilitate the second Master Leader Course pilot class which will be held at Camp Williams, Utah in January.
Master Sgt. Shawn A. Blanke of the Utah Army National Guard, receives his certificate of graduation from Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, during ceremonies November 2 in the Cooper Lecture Center. Blanke, after going through instructor training course at USASMA, will facilitate the second Master Leader Course pilot class which will be held at Camp Williams, Utah in January.

“So the answer is, about one year, that’s how long it takes and the nonresident version of this may take until next summer to get it done because that takes even longer to do,” he said. Defreese lauded the students for being the first, putting up with the long academic days and for providing their comments and feedback.

“The feedback we get from you is absolutely vital to the second pilot we are going to run in Utah,” Defreese said. “From there we will do a little bit more refinement and do the final pilot at the reserve center at Fort Knox and then sometime in Fiscal Year 17 it will be a totally vetted (intermediate operating capability). So you are an integral part of that and it should be something that you are proud of.”

Charles Guyette, the director of the Directorate of Training, lauded the efforts of the training developers and staff who put the course together.

“When the chief of staff and the Army leaders say, “Hey go out and make this thing happen”, and I turn to you guys and you put all this effort to it and it comes to fruition today after these 15 grueling days of academia that we had to put these Soldiers through, the outcome is fully credited to you,” he said.

Asked what he thought about the creation of the Master Leaders Course, graduate 1st Sgt. Thomas Hughes of the Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division, said that he thought it was the right move.

“I personally haven’t been to an NCO professional development course since 2007. That’s eight years,” he said. “So I think there is tremendous value-added to have a Master Leader Course that kind of bridges the gap between the Senior Leader Course and the Sergeants Major Course.”

Sgt. Maj. Brian O’Leary, a Sergeants Major Course Class 65 graduate and an instructor for the Master Leader Course, facilitates a class on Special Conditioning Programs under the Personnel Readiness block of instruction. O’Leary was one of six individuals selected to teach the initial pilot class that will be the basis for the next two pilot class and ultimately the Army’s Master Leader Course.
Sgt. Maj. Brian O’Leary, a Sergeants Major Course Class 65 graduate and an instructor for the Master Leader Course, facilitates a class on Special Conditioning Programs under the Personnel Readiness block of instruction. O’Leary was one of six individuals selected to teach the initial pilot class that will be the basis for the next two pilot class and ultimately the Army’s Master Leader Course.

Hughes noted the course’s rigor and tight schedule, but also believed that if he had attended the course earlier in his career he would have been a more successful senior NCO.

“I believe this course really sets up a senior sergeant first class promotable, or master sergeant who is going to go onto a staff, to assist more than anything,” Hughes said. “We briefly covered a lot of the stuff a first sergeant would do, but as a first sergeant you still need to understand what (occurs) on a staff so you know how your company will be required to support whatever decisive action that you will be engaging in.”

Fellow graduate Master Sgt. John Itzin, the senior operations NCO at the Army Reserve Readiness Training Center at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and who will be one of the instructors for the third pilot class, said the course is a little more oriented towards staff functions than first sergeant duties and he believes it is on target.

“Being able to integrate ourselves onto a staff and be more valuable to the commander and other staff officers is something NCOs really need to be cognizant of. The ability to be able to be brought back in and have a more meaningful role I believe is very important,” he said. “As a promotable sergeant first class being able to back off from that tactical outlook of task management and to step back (from) and get the big picture is something that is brought into this course. I think that is very valuable because that is one area that I struggled with when I was that promotable sergeant first class going into my first staff position.”

The 108 hours of instruction is broken down into three modules – Foundation, Leadership and Army Profession, and Army and Joint Operation, Sgt. Maj. William Gentry, the Curriculum Development and Education Division sergeant major said.

“It provides the Army with senior noncommissioned officers who are self-aware and NCOs of character, confidence, and presence with the skills necessary to shape the joint operational environment, overcome the friction created by uncertainty and operate in an ambiguous environment,” he said. “So I believe this course is geared for the sergeants first class and the newly promoted master sergeants to enable them to perform the duties of a senior staff NCO or operations master sergeant in the S3. The course will give them the confidence to go into that staff role, with the education and institutional knowledge to be a productive member of a senior staff.”

The first pilot class was taught using two different instructional strategies – one using essays assessments, the other using a research project that enhances the collaboration between the students. Gentry said based on the educational outcomes from those two strategies will determine the way ahead for the next two pilot classes.

Master Sgt. Forte L. Cunningham, facilitates a practical exercise during the 15-day Master leader Course pilot class. The Master leaders Course consists of topics such as Army and Joint Doctrine; Interagency Capabilities and Considerations; Plans, Orders and Annexes; Decisive Action; Military Justice Rules and Procedures; Command Inspection program; Servant leadership; Personnel Readiness; Military Decision Making Process; Public Speaking; Military Briefings and Writing.
Master Sgt. Forte L. Cunningham, facilitates a practical exercise during the 15-day Master leader Course pilot class. The Master leaders Course consists of topics such as Army and Joint Doctrine; Interagency Capabilities and Considerations; Plans, Orders and Annexes; Decisive Action; Military Justice Rules and Procedures; Command Inspection program; Servant leadership; Personnel Readiness; Military Decision Making Process; Public Speaking; Military Briefings and Writing.

“The desired outcome is an operational leader that has the talent, ability and confidence in himself or herself to be a creative and critical thinker, to not just worry about beans and bullets, but to actually be able to think on line with that company commander or that field grade officer on the staff,” Gentry said. “Right now I give this course two thumbs up. Because it is only going to get better from here. When the students tell me they wish they had known this stuff three or four years ago and they are excited about what they know now, we are hitting the mark.”

The Master Leader Course consists of topics such as Army and Joint Doctrine; Interagency Capabilities and Considerations; Plans, Orders and Annexes; Decisive Action; Military Justice Rules and Procedures; Command Inspection program; Servant leadership; Personnel Readiness; Military Decision Making Process; Public Speaking; Military Briefings and Writing.

The MLC has been specifically designed to prepare sergeants first class for the increased leadership and management responsibilities required of all senior NCOs. The course is the fourth of five NCO Professional Development Courses beginning with the Basic Leader Course and culminating with the Sergeants Major Course. The makeup of the first pilot class consisted of 32 individually selected regular Army, National Guard and Reserve component professional NCOs from a wide range of career management fields.

Perkins provides Class 66 clarity on future Army

Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, spent the morning Sept. 30 at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas, talking to the 454 students of Sergeants Major Course Class 66. The general discussed the NCO’s role in Mission Command and the Army Operating Concept of Win in a Complex World and lauded them for being the stewards of the profession.
Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, spent the morning Sept. 30 at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas, talking to the 454 students of Sergeants Major Course Class 66. The general discussed the NCO’s role in Mission Command and the Army Operating Concept of Win in a Complex World and lauded them for being the stewards of the profession.

In an age of uncertainty, faced with the realities of sequestration and a downsizing Army, Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, spent the morning of Sept. 30 providing clarity on the Army’s operating concept and the role of the senior NCO in mission command, to the 454 students of Sergeants Major Course Class 66.
TRADOC does a lot of things, Perkins explained, but what it is for is to be the architect of the Army, the designers of the future Army, who are currently looking at 2025 to 2040 and what capabilities the Army needs to have. TRADOC is the “design-build firm” for the Army.
As the designer of the Army Operating Concept, Perkins said the institution took a look at past concepts and found the 1981 Airland Battle Operating Concept to a powerful example of what the operating concept does – ask the big question.
“The first question it asked was what echelon of war are we going to design the United States Army to operate in? That is a big question. It didn’t get wrapped around small questions,” he said. “So remember that when you are in charge of an organization, your job is to ask big questions and not get wrapped around the axle with small answers.”
The second thing an operating concept does, he said, is describe the operating environment. Airland Battle was designed to go to battle with Russia in the central plains of Europe with NATO, a well-known coalition. Everything was known in Airland Battle Concept.
“Before you march off on small answers, the most important thing you have to do is define the problem. Define the problem you are trying to solve before you spend all night trying to solve it,” Perkins said. “Beware of people who define the problem by taking the answer they want and rewording it in the form of a problem.”
The problem the Airland Battle Concept identified was “Fight outnumbered and win.”

Using that template, Perkins said, TRADOC came up with “Win in a complex world,” complex being defined as unknown, unknowable and constantly changing.
“As an NCO you have to understand the logic of how we get to where we are,” he said. “Words have meaning and the good thing about doctrine is you get to define what the meaning is. All I need to know is do you want me to build an Army for a known world or an unknown world. Because those are two different armies. If it is unknown you design, build and buy things differently.”
In order to win in a complex world, Perkins said the Army must conduct unified land operations and then asked the question, “But what are we for?” It is very powerful once you decide what you are for because you can start grading what you do, he added.
To come up with that answer, TRADOC looked at Google’s mission – to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful – and found clarity in purpose. From there TRADOC defined what the Army is for – “To seize, retain and exploit the initiative to get to a position of relative advantage.”
“That could be to get the advantage against the Taliban, Hurricane Sandy, some humanitarian disaster, whatever you are dealing with,” he said. “(It is) relative advantage because the world is constantly changing; what is an advantage today may be a disadvantage tomorrow. The world you are in today is constantly changing.”
Turning his focus to mission command, Perkins said in order to conduct unified land operations we must institute mission command. Mission command, he said, is a multi-warfighting function and a command philosophy.
“In mission command we balance command and control, not to ensure compliance, but to empower initiative. Because you don’t know what your subordinates need to do piece-by-piece, so you just give them mission-oriented orders,” he said. “(You need to) understand, visualize and describe the mission. Once you do all of that, then you direct. Mission command is all about leadership because if you don’t have leadership you cannot execute mission command. If you can’t conduct mission command, you can’t do unified land operations, and if you can’t do unified land operations you probably are not going to win in a complex world.”
Perkins urged the class to “never lose clarity in the search for accuracy;” that their job was to conceptualize and not get caught up on the small things and he ended by telling the students that they owned the profession.
“So what are you for? The stewardship of the profession. You own the profession,” he said. “Because you own the profession we lean on you. We are addicted to you and all of the Soldiers because we trust that you know what you are doing and you will give your life to do that and that is the only reason we are ever going to be able to win in a complex world.”

Thorpe assumes responsibility for Resident SMC

Sgt. Maj. Maurice Thorpe accepts the unit colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Harold Reynolds, dean of the Sergeants Major Course, signifying his acceptance of the responsibility for the Resident Sergeants Major Course, during ceremonies held Oct. 8. At the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.
Sgt. Maj. Maurice Thorpe accepts the unit colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Harold Reynolds, dean of the Sergeants Major Course, signifying his acceptance of the responsibility for the Resident Sergeants Major Course, during ceremonies held Oct. 8. At the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.

Story and photos by David Crozier, Command Communications

The Sergeants Major Course of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, held a change of responsibility ceremony October 8, where Sgt. Maj. Robert R. Deblois handed over the duties and responsibilities of deputy director to Sgt. Maj. Maurice A. Thorpe. Command Sgt. Maj. Harold Reynolds, director of the Sergeants Major Course, officiated the change of responsibility and spoke a few words about both of the sergeants major during the event. “When I thought about what I wanted to talk about today, all of these ceremonies it is really bittersweet, we’ve got the new coming in with new ideas and revamping the organization but you also have that have that historical knowledge – that operational knowledge that is also leaving, that’s why it is a bittersweet thing,” Reynolds said. “If I could pick one word to describe SGM Deblois, it would be dedicated. He has been dedicated to the Army every unit that he has been in, he has dedicated to them and what they are doing. But first and foremost he has been dedicated to his family. … He has also been dedicated to the mission at USASMA of providing professional military education to senior leaders. He has been an astute asset in accomplishing that mission. And he has accomplished that mission.
Turning his attention to Thorpe, Reynolds said the one word that described him is “Commitment.”

“He is committed to his family, to the Army, to every unit that he has served. It is a hard balancing act to do, but he has done it. He is committed to the mission, to this mission, and he is committed to education, the pursuit of it, the teaching of it, and the importance of it,” Reynolds said. “Now that he takes these reins he will also ensure that you know and will give you the best curriculum that he can possibly give, as well as supporting all of the staff and students and instructors. You can’t do that without commitment.” Following Reynold’s remarks both Deblois and Thorpe were given the opportunity to address the gathered crowd. Deblois thanked the Academy and the staff for their support singling out several individuals, and specifically highlighted the work of the Sergeants Major Course Instructors and department chiefs and deputy chiefs.

 

Sgt. Maj. Maurice Thorpe addresses the crowd after his acceptance of the responsibility for the Resident Sergeants Major Course, during ceremonies held Oct. 8. At the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.
Sgt. Maj. Maurice Thorpe addresses the crowd after his acceptance of the responsibility for the Resident Sergeants Major Course, during ceremonies held Oct. 8. At the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.

“To my SMC instructors – you are world class, the best jobs in this academy. Your daily contact with the students, you are leading by example, your professionalism is phenomenal. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting,” Deblois said. “SGM and Mrs. Thorpe, I wish you good luck and congratulations. You are the right team to lead the resident course down the field.”

Deblois saved his closing remarks to the students of Class 66.

“Class 66 – you were selected to come here based off your past demonstrated abilities and potential. The goal is graduation,” he said. “Help each other out, don’t fret or worry about your assignments, first sergeant and the cadre will help you through that process. Remember the goal is graduation. Come June everything is going is work itself out.”

Thorpe likewise thanked everyone for attending the ceremony and also thanked Deblois for his dedication and leadership. “On today, the 8th of October, 2015, I have been given the privilege of accepting responsibility of the Sergeants Major Course. SGM Rob Deblois has done a great job as the leader of the corps and has performed with honor and distinction, not only here for the last two years, but for the 32 years of his career since 1984,” Thorpe said.Using a quote from famed baseball player Jackie Robinson who said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” Thorpe said that in assuming the position as deputy director of the resident Sergeants Major Course provides him a platform to impact and the educators, students, their families and our Army. He added that the ceremony was not about him, but “about preserving the tradition the history and legacy that has existed here in this institution since 1972.

DSC_6204I am humbled by such a responsibility and I am thankful to work with such a great team. I recognize that our educators, staff and faculty play a huge role in not only your success, but the success of the team.” Thorpe ended his remarks by asking everyone to remember the “Flag.”

“Family, always take care of your family. For some of us that is your battle buddy to your left or right. Leadership, always set the example and be that leader that you always wanted. Leadership is more than being a servant leader, it is about followership as well. Ambassadorship, find ways around the Army, find ways around the academy, your community, to always lend a helping hand. Because to some you are the only Army they know. As far as Growth, I want you to do more than be lifelong learners. I want you to encourage others to grow and remain open-minded to all things new so we all grow too,” he said. “So simply put, remember the FLAG – family, leadership, ambassadorship and family.” Additional photos can be found on the USASMA flickr site at https://www.flickr.com/photos/133821783@N02/albums.

Huggins assumes duties as USASMA’s deputy commandant

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy held a Change of Responsibility ceremony Oct. 4 which saw Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Huggins assume the responsibility of deputy commandant from Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard. Above, Huggins accepts the Academy colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, USASMA commandant, as a symbol of his assumption of responsibility as the deputy commandant of the Academy.
The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy held a Change of Responsibility ceremony Oct. 6 which saw Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Huggins assume the responsibility of deputy commandant from Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard. Above, Huggins accepts the Academy colors from Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, USASMA commandant, as a symbol of his assumption of responsibility as the deputy commandant of the Academy.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy held a change of responsibility ceremony October 6, when Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard relinquished his duties as deputy commandant to Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Huggins in the academy Cooper Lecture Center.

Command Sgt. Major Dennis Defreese, USASMA commandant, presided over the ceremony and gave remarks after the passing of the Academy colors.

“These two outstanding command sergeants major and Soldiers have dedicated their entire adult lives to our country and to the sons and daughters of our Nation. They have both taken on the most difficult jobs the Army has for NCOs and have never shied away from leading Soldiers,” Defreese said. “The deputy commandant job at USASMA is unlike any other command sergeant major job in the Army. He is not just an advisor, but a part of the chain of command and absolutely vital to the operations of this academy.”

Defreese lauded Pritchard’s career and thanked his family for their support of their soldier in the Army and then turned his attention to the incoming deputy commandant.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Higgins addresses the crowd during the Change of Responsibility ceremony Oct. 4 which saw Huggins accept the responsibility as deputy commandant from Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Higgins addresses the crowd during the Change of Responsibility ceremony Oct. 4 which saw Huggins accept the responsibility as deputy commandant from Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard.

“I have known Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Huggins for a while and have seen him at conferences and venues around the Army. He is well-known as a professional Soldier and a great leader,” Defreese said. ”He has a sterling reputation. … I am absolutely confident that he will do an outstanding job and help lead this academy into the future.”

Defreese then turned the podium over to Pritchard for his outgoing remarks who thanked all those in attendance and lauded the support of the staff, cadre and faculty.

“I have had the privilege to serve this great organization and tried hard to make it better. I’ve served with the best of the best; the top one percent; the top dogs of their profession; the A-type personalities; the OCD department; the perfectionists and theorists. What a great combination of experience to serve by, with and for and I would not trade (it) for anything in the world,” Pritchard said. “Command Sgt. Maj. Huggins, this institution is in the best position it has ever been and the professionals within USASMA are totally and completely dedicated to keeping USASMA on top. The team anxiously awaits for you to get on board.”

Thanking the commandant for the confidence in selecting him,

The Pritchard family unveils Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard’s official wall plaque depicting him as the Deputy Commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy from 7 November 2013 through 6 October 2015. This plaque sits among the other former Command Sergeants Major and Deputy Commandants throughout the Academy’s history.
The Pritchard family unveils Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd J. Pritchard’s official wall plaque depicting him as the Deputy Commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy from 7 November 2013 through 6 October 2015. This plaque sits among the other former Command Sergeants Major and Deputy Commandants throughout the Academy’s history.

Huggins also thanked the crowd for their attendance and promised everyone that he would not let them down as he takes over as the new deputy commandant.

“I look forward to being a part of Team Bliss and the team of teams that is here,” Huggins said. “Let’s do some good things. … Commandant thank you for the opportunity and I take this challenge on. Ultima, Army Strong.”

Additional photos can be found on the USASMA flickr site at https://www.flickr.com/photos/133821783@N02/albums.

Hunting the Good Stuff – Class 64 students earn Master Resilience Trainer identifier

Class 64 students gather in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center on Day 1 of the Master Resilience Trainer Course taught by members of the Fort Bliss Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Training Center. Class 64 is the first class that will graduate from the Academy with the MRT additional skill identifier of 8R.
Class 64 students gather in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center on Day 1 of the Master Resilience Trainer Course taught by members of the Fort Bliss Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Training Center. Class 64 is the first class that will graduate from the Academy with the MRT additional skill identifier of 8R.

Noted American novelist Richard Bach said, “The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.” In other words, there is good and bad in every situation or event, it just depends upon your point of view.

Understanding those differing points of view and how individuals face and cope with “adversity, adapt to change, recover, and learn to grow from setbacks” has been an Army focus since the establishment of the Ready and Resilient Campaign and the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program in 2008. Through CSF2 the Army seeks to “increase the resilience and enhance the performance of Soldiers, their families and Army civilians.” Included in CSF2 is Master Resilience Training where individuals are trained to teach proven resilience skills to Soldiers in order to enhance their performance and increase resiliency, both individually and collectively – “being Army Strong is about much more than being physically fit; it is about mental and emotional strength, as well.”

At the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, resiliency training began about three years ago when one of the cadre attended the MRT Course taught at the University of Pennsylvania and came back to USASMA and developed a program of instruction for students attending the Sergeants Major Course.

“Ramzy Noel (one of the senior instructors of the Sergeants Major Course) had heard of this and got involved in and he piloted a program here to teach [MRT] at the academy,” said Mike Hayes, senior instructor in the Department of Command Leadership. “He got it blessed off on by [the] director of the Sergeants Major Course, and he taught an abbreviated version of the class in the auditorium to the [sergeants major course students].

Hayes soon followed Noel’s footsteps and attended the University of Pennsylvania training and joined Noel in teaching the class. Last year the Sergeants Major Course reorganized into new departments and the responsibility for the course fell strictly on Hayes to manage. That is about the time, Hayes explained, when the leadership of the Army’s CFS2 program came to USASMA and gave a brief to sergeants major course students about the program. From there, an agreement was reached where individuals from the Fort Bliss Comprehensive Soldiers and Family Fitness Training Center would take on the duties of teaching the course and the students would graduate from it with the additional skill qualifier of 8R – they could now teach the course themselves instead of just knowing about the course.

“It enhanced the quality of training and all the sergeants major will be level ones (Level I) upon graduation, Hayes said. “The intent behind it was to get a lot more senior level, senior NCO, involvement in the program. Some units had programs in place but they weren’t really going after things. So leadership felt that if they had more believers at the senior level, more would get involved and then the programs would get better.”

With the agreement in place between USASMA and CSF2, instructors from the Fort Bliss center began teaching the 10-day course to the students of Sergeants Major Course Class 64. As the SMC is broken down into five departments and five semesters, the MRT course is taught at the beginning of each semester as each group rotates into the Command Leadership phase of the course. The course itself consists of lectures in the auditorium and small group instruction and interaction in the classroom.

In the group rooms students use the skills they have learn to walk through scenarios that get progressively more complicated. Above, a student leads a discussion on an activating event, the thoughts that accompanied the event which eventually led to consequences - actions based on those thoughts.
In the group rooms students use the skills they have learn to walk through scenarios that get progressively more complicated. Above, a student leads a discussion on an activating event, the thoughts that accompanied the event which eventually led to consequences – actions based on those thoughts.

“The overall mechanics of the program is typically they get information in the large group setting where they learn a skill or a component of a skill, a theory behind something that works, and then the real work is when they go to the small group room with an assistant primary instructor and some facilitators and we ask them to actually use the skill or theory they just learned,” said Dr. Erin Towner, Psy D, Master Resilience Trainer/Performance Expert and primary instructor for the course. “Here is this skill, now walk through it; this is how your MRT is trained to do it; try it for yourself. After they get their feet wet with the skill, all the skills are worked through with a partner, and then we work in the small group rooms debriefing the skill, talking about what we learned in doing the exercise and a lot about application – how do you use this or see this being used.”

Sgt. 1st Class David Parish, a Level IV MRT instructor and assistant primary instructor with the 5th Armored Brigade, 1st Armored Division, said the intent is to educate senior leaders as to what it is an MRT does so it can be better utilized in the field.

“The overarching goal of teaching sergeants major students the program and actually walking them through the entire program is designed to give them a deeper understanding of what an MRT is,” he said. “[It’s] also to show them how they can use their MRT as a force multiplier; how they can use their MRT more effectively in their units; and what their MRT’s left and right limits actually are.”

Parish said the latter part is significant because MRTs in the field have been asked to do things that actually aren’t in an MRT’s realm or scope. He added leadership has heard reports back from Soldiers who have been asked to be like a triage for their unit – to decide whether or not somebody needs to go to mental health.

“We are not training in a two-week period to be clinical psychologists. We are not giving anyone a PhD in clinical psychology,” he said. “So leaders need to understand things like you still have those outside resources that you need to reach for [that are outside an MRT’s scope].”

Parish said that MRT is based on science and is intended to give Soldiers skills to cope with things before they happen as well as give them life skills for everyday living.

“Resilience is a skill. Resilience skills are really designed for before an event occurs in your life. So before a traumatic event happens, before life just slaps you in the face,” Parish said. “These are the skills we want you to know beforehand.”

He added, MRT is not trying to teach anybody a set of skills for after an event has already occurred.

MRTcompetencies“Say you are suffering from a disorder like PTSD,” he said.  “We are not teaching you these skills to treat your PTSD, we are teaching you these skills to treat your life and how you would use these skills for long term and hopefully reduce or eliminate the PTSD before it happens.”

MRT training is broken down into four modules of instruction, Dr. Towner said.

“The first module is foundations. It contains foundational components about resilience, performance enhancement and the six competencies that build resilience and performance,” she said. “We also teach them the skills of energy management and goal setting”

Module two she said is the longest module and is focused on building mental toughness.

“That is a lot of cognitive behavioral skills, the basic skills like the Army saying, ‘Suck it up and drive on,’” she said. “Knowing these skills; this is how you do that; telling somebody to get over something, or how do they get over something? This is the way, and there are very specific set of skills to use in certain types of situations to develop those competencies we talk about.”

In Module three the students learn about strength of character.

“The students take an assessment and they get a rank order of their strengths,” Dr. Towner said. “Then we have a lot of conversations about how have you used these strengths, where has this gotten you, how do you find this in your Soldiers, and how are you going to leverage this in your Soldiers? That module is an entire day.”

Module four is all about communication, she said. From there they move on to looking at scenarios.

“They have learned all these skills and then we give them a scenario and then ask them what skills make sense to work this scenario,” she said. “We ask them how should they be working with this Soldier and the scenario gets progressively more complicated and [it forces them] to see what other assets and resources you can use on post to help this Soldier – what other assets are available.”

Towner said it is all aimed at setting them up for success before the “stuff” happens.

The students of Class 64 who took the course in the first semester agree.

“Up until I came here and I took the MRT course, I knew very little of it,” said Master Sgt. Juan Pena who was a brigade operations sergeant major with the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. before attending the Sergeants Major Course. “When you are talking resiliency it’s about people’s feelings and emotions and how they are able to handle and cope with different situations. It has just been through my experience that I have been able to help soldiers out with their situations, shortcomings and shortfalls. However, the MRT course gave me a whole different insight on how to problem solve, look at better ways of doing things and also how to be more positive each and every day. This is probably one of the most beneficial training exercises or training event that I have ever been involved in.”

Master Sgt. Clay Usie who was a senior military instructor at Louisiana State University and a 1st Sgt. with the 75th Ranger Regiment, before coming to USASMA, said that he had used and taught resiliency as soon as the Army stood up the CSF2 program on Fort Benning, Ga.

“My battalion commander became a big fan of it and we started sending all of our senior instructors for the ranger assessment and selection program and we started teaching resiliency training within the program,” he said. “I think it complemented what we were doing. I don’t have the statistics right off hand but we have shown an increased accession rate since we implemented MRT.”

Throughout the course students are taught about MRT competencies of self awareness, self regulation, optimism, mental agility, strengths of character and connection. They learn about thinking traps, activating events, icebergs (personal beliefs and values), problem solving, and putting things in perspective, mental games, real time resilience, communication tools, and how to hunt for the good stuff.  The course also shows the students how to conduct pre-deployment training, post-deployment training, teach energy management and goal setting.

The expectation from the Sergeants Major Course students going forward, Hayes explained, is not to go out and teach the course, but to use the knowledge they have gained to ensure the program is working out in the field.

“Now you know what right looks like, you know what the program consists of. You know what the skills are and you know what the requirements are. So when you get to your unit as an S3 sergeant major and your commander says ‘what is the status of my MRT program?’ You can go down and see how they are doing it [with the knowledge of how it is supposed to be done],” Hayes said. “We tell the students to make sure that it is alive and vibrant in your organizations, that you are meeting Army requirements for pre-deployment and post-deployment and that the quarterly training requirements are being met. The second thing is make sure it is good quality. Make sure your programs are teaching quality. If you have good quality and you get involved in the training it is going to stick more.”

Although the Academy is the only place where students are taught the entire Level I course and receive certification, Parish said that parts of MRT is taught at all levels of Army training from basic training to the Advanced Leaders Course.

 

 

New USASMA Course sets stage for successful commandant accession

USASMA commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, addresses the students of the first Pre-Command Commandants Course held at the Academy Sept. 16-20. The course was deemed a success and will undergo some modifications before being rolled out officially sometime next year.
USASMA commandant, Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, addresses the students of the first Pre-Command Commandants Course held at the Academy Sept. 16-20. The course was deemed a success and will undergo some modifications before being rolled out officially sometime next year.

As NCOs make their way through the ranks, taking on increased duties and responsibilities, they are provided with the fundamental tools they need through the Army’s Noncommissioned Officer Education System. Beginning with the Warrior Leaders Course and ending with the Sergeants Major Course, those duties and responsibilities, as well as the authorities, of the NCO are brought to light and imparted on those who are placed in charge of leading, training, counseling and mentoring Soldiers placed under their care. While their responsibilities are many, one thing is for certain, they have no real command authority.

The same cannot be said though for those who are placed into the position of being the commandant of an NCO Academy. These individuals not only have all of the responsibilities of being an NCO, they also carry the implied authorities of a commander, something they were not schooled in—that is until now.

On September 16 the USASMA kicked off a proof of principle Pre-Command Commandants Course designed to test the skills and knowledge of eight command sergeants major who currently hold the position of commandant in one of the Army’s 33 noncommissioned officer academies.

“As NCOs grow up in the Army they are given a lot of leadership opportunities and the opportunity to serve in a lot of different capacities – first sergeant, platoon sergeant, drill sergeant, and so on. But in every one of those roles with the exception of the squad leader, they are really not in the chain of command where they are the ones making all of the command-level decisions,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant. “However, as a commandant it is the first position, and probably the only duty position, in the Army where we ask a command sergeant major that has not been developed to do that kind of job to exercise their duties much like a commander. They have to manage a budget, they have to look at infractions of misconduct and what action they’re going to take with their recommendations; it carries a lot more power. So what we are trying to do is equip them with the tools and help them understand a lot of the limitations and expectations the position has.”

The course came about from issues that were happening within the Army in respects to NCO Academies, Malloy said. There had been some instances of misconduct that many believed were due to a lack of knowledge as to the duties, responsibilities and command authority of a commandant. Malloy himself noted his own lack of knowledge in assuming the duties as commandant of the Sergeants Major Academy and the issues he faced.

“I realized how tough the job was and there was really nothing out there that prepares us to take this job. We used to do commandants conferences where I would bring all the commandants in, but at the end of the day those were okay but we really didn’t get a lot out of them,” he said. “So last year we made the decision that commandants were not properly prepared to go into that leadership role and we needed to fix that.”

Command Sgt. Maj. William Bruns, commandant of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord NCO Academy and one of three mentors selected to help develop the course, leads a discussion on Command Authority.
Command Sgt. Maj. William Bruns, commandant of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord NCO Academy and one of three mentors selected to help develop the course, leads a discussion on Command Authority.

USASMA did an analysis of the training needs for commandants and realized there was a large gap in what command sergeants major were being taught at the pre-command course and what their duties and responsibilities would entail as a commandant, Malloy said. From there the staff in the Directorate of Training began the process of filling in that gap with a new course that would augment the pre-command course and give new commandants the tools they need to make sound command decisions.

“One of our main objectives here is to arm the [command sergeants major] with the tools that are necessary to be a successful enlisted commandant,” said Sgt. Maj. Jerry Bailey, USASMA’s Training, Development and Education sergeant major. “We took a list of tasks based on information provided by three mentors (sergeants major currently in commandant positions) we brought in and Command Sgt. Maj. Malloy. We took those tasks and we built lessons to get after what things an enlisted commandant can and cannot do.  We want to educate them on their duties, responsibilities and command authority so as they go back out and do their commandant duties they have the tools that are necessary to be successful.”

Bailey said the course is designed on a learner-centric model using practical exercises that require group work and research to obtain the answers they need. Each group also shares their findings with the entire class in order to facilitate discussion.

The 40-hour, 5-day course covers 15 different topic areas: The Authorities of an Enlisted Commandant, Joint Ethics, Lines of Command/Support, Training Management, Inventory Management/Property Accountability, Budget Management, Academy Manning, Course Administrative Requirements, Instructor Development program, Civilian Personnel Management System, Student records, Learning Theories and Styles, Law for Leaders, Registrar, and Accreditation.

Command Sgt. Maj. Cornelius Mack, commandant of the Alaska NCO Academy participates in a discussion during a presentation. Mack was one of eight commandants who took part in the proof of principle for the new Pre-Command Commandants Course.
Command Sgt. Maj. Cornelius Mack, commandant of the Alaska NCO Academy participates in a discussion during a presentation. Mack was one of eight commandants who took part in the proof of principle for the new Pre-Command Commandants Course.

“It would normally take us about a year to get this course going,” Bailey said. “We did this in about two months with a lot of folks who spent a lot of dedicated time to actually get it done.  We stayed in contact with the three mentors throughout the two-month process talking to them once a week and we provided them with what we thought the product should look like, and they provided us the feedback. So the mentors played a big part in making sure this was ready to go.”

To further enhance the course curricula, USASMA enlisted the help of its legal assistant, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Burke, who helped to mold and shape the instruction on the authorities of an enlisted commandant and joint ethics.

“One of the big things that the commandant touched on in his introduction to the class is the authorities of a commandant. After a year and a half here Command Sgt. Maj. Malloy and I have come through a lot of instances where regulations don’t clearly define and don’t mention a commandant. It only defines a commander or nothing,” Burke said. “So we introduce them to what delegations of authority, what memorandums of agreement, those types of things are going to be required of a commandant to be able to function at their installation. So we want the students to have a take away of this is what I am going to need to get established so that when these things come up they are not behind the curve.”

In the joint ethics piece, Burke was able to bring realism to the course through the assistance of Fort Bliss military lawyers who were on standby to answer any questions the students might have when working through various scenarios.

“Joint ethics violations are the primary cause for release of command and release of commandants. So during the course we conduct about an hour overview of joint ethics and then each day [the students] have an ethics-based, real-world scenario that is based off of actual cases which they will decipher what is the problem, how can they fix it, and how can they prevent it in the future,” Burke said. “We also have a paralegal in each working group to work them through that discussion and they also have an attorney available to them by phone to get actual advice.  So this mirrors as close as possible a real-world situation of how they should go through those ethical issues.”

Taking part in the proof of principle, Command Sgt. Maj. Cornelius Mack, commandant of the Alaska NCO Academy who has only been on the job for nine months, said the course was far more than he expected and wished he could have taken it prior to being selected to serve as a commandant.

“Understanding the authorities is the biggest thing that I am taking away from here. What the authority of a commandant really is. Understanding how to establish [memorandums of agreement and understanding] to ensure that you are covered,” he said. “You have a commander’s role in an O-6 (Colonel’s) billet, but you don’t have command authority. So understanding what that authority is and how to establish memorandums of agreement and understanding to give you the authority you need to function, not for power sake, but just for the natural ability to run the academy is huge.”

Mack also noted the joint ethics portion of the course as extremely valuable.

“Sharing the knowledge with commandants so they can understand what it is they can and cannot do, and things that can and cannot get them in trouble. As sergeants major we have experienced some of these things over the years but once you are put in this position of commandant or commander, it is your FRG, it’s your fundraiser, it’s your this team or that team. Having that understanding and privy to that knowledge is the second thing that was overwhelming,” Mack said. “This course is more than beneficial. If a new commandant only got the book they put together for pre-reading it would have been so much better, it would have put me so much farther ahead of the game. So yes, this course is extremely beneficial to a new commandant.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Porrett, commandant of the NCO Academy in Hawaii and an 18-month veteran of the position, had similar sentiments about the new course.

“This is definitely a shared experience between new and some seasoned commandants looking at some of the trip wires and pitfalls out there that nothing has really prepared us for.  We may have been in the Army 25 plus years, but this is the first time that we are the sole person responsible for an organization. So the shared experience within the room is important, something that you cannot get online through video tele-conferencing,” Porrett said. “We have got to have the shared experience and within this group we have commandants with less than a month’s experience to some of us with 18 months and even though I have been in the seat for a while, there are still things that I am taking back to better my academy.”

Porrett was particularly thankful for the opportunity to hear from Gen. Robert Cone, commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command and who addressed the class via VTC on Day 3 of the course.

Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant, poses for a group photo with the first class of the Pre-Command Commandants Course on Day 1 of the new course. The 40-hour, 5-day course was designed to help new commandants better understand the unique duties and responsibilities inherent in their jobs.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant, poses for a group photo with the first class of the Pre-Command Commandants Course on Day 1 of the new course. The 40-hour, 5-day course was designed to help new commandants better understand the unique duties and responsibilities inherent in their jobs.

“The thing that we got was a one-on-one with a senior leader who understands our position, understands what our pitfalls are, and he was able to relay his expectations and the down to earth of this is what you need to be doing,” Porrett said. “He talked about things we should not be doing and rarely does that ever happen. It was good for us [to have the opportunity].”

With the proof or principle complete, Malloy and his staff will now go back to the table and look at the course surveys, conduct an after action review and make needed adjustments to ensure the course is ready for launch.

“We gained a lot from this. The proof of principle and proof of concept, it proved we are definitely in the right ballpark and it will work. We are just missing a few subjects and some of the scenarios and exercises they did were a little too challenging, so we are going to add a little more education before they do the scenario and the final exam proved to be very challenging, so we are taking a look at whether or not we met all the objectives,” Malloy said. “With a little more refinement and a little more time we will be ready to execute the course probably in February. We are also going to bring in all the advance leader course and senior leader course new commandants as well. “

Malloy said that USASMA hopes to be able to conduct three to four iterations of the course per year, depending on demand and class load and estimates the class size will be between 20-30 students. Some of the course can be given in a large group seminar setting while exercises and scenarios need to be done more in a small group setting.

“The course met my expectations and in some ways it exceeded it for what we are trying to achieve with the commandants. It really challenged them and caused them to have to think critically and then we really got after some of the intellectual-level of thinking and discussion on a lot of critical topics that they are going to be challenged with as a commandant as they take over these new duties,” Malloy said. “The course itself by design, we knew it would be challenging and the feedback we received it was a great deal more challenging then we had anticipated. Not only the examination, the scenarios that we gave proved to be very challenging as well. I think the course definitely better prepares them. Most of these commandants have been in position between a year and two months and every one of them said that if they would have had this course prior to the first day they had to sit in the seat as commandant, they would have been far better prepared to execute their duties.”

USASMA welcomes Class 64

DSC_3487

With memories of Class 63 still fresh, the staff and faculty of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy had very little down time to rest up before welcoming in a new batch of senior noncommissioned officers and their families.

The initial onslaught of arrivals to the academy began even before Class 63 graduated. Several students arrived early to be sponsors and mentors to the 38 Class 64 international students who were taking part in the international pre-course, a 10-week course designed to help prepare them for the rigors of the Sergeants Major Course. Mike Huffman, director of the International Military Student Office, said this year’s pre-course was more robust than in years past.

“This was the longest amount of time the international students have had to prepare for the sergeants major course. We did a lot of preparation teaching the American Psychological Association –APA – style of documentation for their essays,” he said. “The students were given in-depth blocks of instruction on exactly how the instructors will be grading their research papers. So they will be able to write them with some confidence.”

Huffman also alluded to the newest and possibly biggest challenge that not only the international students, but all students, will face this year – closed book testing.

“This is the first year of closed book testing, so that is going to be a challenge for the Sergeants Major Course,” he said.

 

In-processing_DBC6128

While the international students were navigating the pre-course, their sponsors, when not helping their international partners, were kept busy helping the cadre prepare for the arrival of the rest of Class 64. On August 7, USASMA welcomed the remaining infusion of students. Coming in from all around the Army, more than 300 Soldiers descended upon the Academy to begin Day 1 of in-processing, marking the beginning of their 10-month long educational experience.

“We are doing four briefs along with the Post Relocation Fair which will happen later on today at the Centennial Club on Fort Bliss,” said 1st Sgt. Zachary Smith, first sergeant of the Sergeants Major Course. “Then tomorrow the students will conduct in-processing with Finance and then complete their Fort Bliss and academy in-processing on Thursday and Friday.”

On Day 1 the students received their group room assignments along with what department they would be in and where they were actually starting the course. On the last day of in-processing, the students and their families were treated to a BBQ-style icebreaker complete with hot dogs, chips and sodas, a DJ and jumping balloons for the children to let loose some energy.

“Today we are bringing the students and their families here for this icebreaker to set the tone for a great year,” Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Coleman, director of the Sergeants Major Course said.  “We want to let them know that their families are welcome and it is a time to not only get engaged into school, but it is a time for the families to come together and enjoy this year with them. “

Coleman said the picnic-style icebreaker came about naturally because it is summer, still warm, and the weather accommodates it, but more so because a lot of these students have come off deployments and missions and haven’t had these opportunities to bring their families together for an event like this.

 

The welcoming continuesice7

The next two weeks saw the students attending mandatory briefings and training, as well as unpacking household goods and getting their children ready for the new school year. With so much going on during the day, the Academy set aside a couple of evenings to properly welcome the spouses and give them some much needed information and support.

The first evening was dedicated to the international spouses and was hosted by the IMSO in true Texas fashion.

Mike Huffman, IMSO director, welcomed the students and their family members, but not before each learned the Texas way of greeting one another. The group was informed that everything in Texas is bigger, including the welcome and all were mentored in saying, “Yee Haw” and “Howdy Partner.”

Huffman, with the assistance of Command Sgt. Maj. Wesley Weygandt, deputy commandant and Mrs. Deborah Malloy, spouse of USASMA commandant Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, introduced the international spouses to key members of the academy staff and were encouraged to participate in the English as a Second Language course, the spouse leadership development course and to explore the El Paso community.

The next evening get together focused on all of the spouses of Class 64 and was hosted by Weygandt, Coleman and Mrs. Malloy. The spouses were shown a breakdown of the school year and how their Soldier would be affected, as well as given a calendar of important events and holidays. The spouses were also provided a full briefing on the ULTIMA family readiness group and the Spouse Leadership Development Course. During each of the presentations the cadre opened it up to questions and concerns from the spouses.

With all of the orientations complete, it was time to start the academic year with some pomp and circumstance.

USASMA inducts three into Hall of Honor_DBC6689

The United States Army Sergeants Major Academy recognized the singular and cumulative achievements of three former sergeants major that have made significant contributions to the Academy and the Noncommissioned Officer Education System in a ceremony held Aug. 23 in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center.

Command Sgt. Maj. Rory Malloy, USASMA commandant hosted the ceremony and spoke about each of the inductees — Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeffery Colimon, former TRADOC deputy chief of staff for Education; Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Danny R. Hubbard, former Academy director of Doctrine and Training and former TRADOC G3/5/7 sergeant major; and Sgt. Maj. (Ret) Jeffery Wells former TRADOC G3/5/7 sergeant major and HQDA G3/5/7 sergeant major.

“This year we have the great honor of inducting three great Americans into the history books as members of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy Hall of Honor. They join the likes of great leaders such as Gen. [Ralph] Haines who is known as the father of our sergeants major academy and the establishment of our noncommissioned officer education system for his vision professionalized our NCO corps,” Malloy said. “Also amongst the ranks includes our first command sergeant major for the Academy, Sgt. Maj. of the Army William Bainbridge, as well as a former chief of staff of the Army, Gen, Gordon Sullivan one of the most passionate leaders to serve our NCO corps.”

Malloy said that each of this year’s inductees shared a theme in that each was instrumental in the development of the Warrior Leaders Course, the creation of Structured Self-Development, the use of distance learning as well as video teletraining to further the education of noncommissioned officers.

While Colimon and Hubbard could not be at the ceremony, both recorded video acceptance speeches thanking the Academy for the recognition. Present to accept his plaque and take part in the ceremony, Wells gave a gracious acceptance speech.

“Nowhere in my wildest dreams did I ever dream that I would be standing here being inducted into something like this in front of my peers. So I share with you that it is an honor to be here,” Wells said. “When I talk about the NCO corps and education it was all about the corps. It was never about me and it can never be about you. It has to be about those in which you are going to lead. The legacy that you will leave behind is supposed to be an honor to the true corps.”

SMA welcomes Class 64, challenges them to excel

With the pomp completed, it was now time for the circumstance — the opening ceremonies for Class 64.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy began its 64th iteration of the Sergeants Major Course August 23 welcoming in the 526 students who comprise the class during opening ceremonies in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. On hand to mark the event was Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, the 14th sergeant major of the Army, who was the guest speaker.

“It is quite an honor to be here and I want to offer you my congratulations to everyone who is in this auditorium. It has taken you a great deal of work and service and sacrifice to be here and I would like you to reflect on that; on who helped you along the way to be in the position that you are today – sitting in a seat amongst 526 or so of your peers – and to understand that there were a whole lot of others, I believe it was about 78 percent or so, that were not selected to be in one of these seats,” Chandler said. “That means something about you and your commitment, your character, your competence, your professionalism and your support to your nation, whether you are part of the United States armed forces or one of our partner nations that is here today. Congratulations it really means something.”

Chandler challenged the students to seize the opportunity and to understand that the Army of tomorrow is in their hands.

“We are at a crossroads right now and what I would like everyone to understand is that we are in the process of reducing the size of the Army and there are so many unknowns out there we are not sure where the bottom is going to be. What I would ask you to do is while you are here, is understand that you are here to be the leader of the future and that your leap from organizational leadership to strategic level leadership is one that is going to be predicated on your commitment to what this course provides,” he said. “You are going to have to lead the army into the future. You are going to have to decide what type of army you want, because it is going to be on your shoulders.”

Chandler also challenged Class 64 to be the kind of leader that keeps the trust and ensures it is about the NCO Corps and the future of the corps.

“You represent every other NCO in the Army. Remember who you are and why you are here and understand that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity … to learn something and carry our Army into the future,” Chandler said. “Take a few minutes and reflect on the privilege of being here and be a part of a team and learn together and you will come out on the other side a much better well-rounded individual, sergeant major. We need you in the future. We need you to continue to move the NCO corps’ reputation and attitude of let’s get it done, let’s solve the problem, into the future.”