NCOs take next step in professional development

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Thirteen technical sergeants from the New Hampshire and Massachusetts Air National Guard began a Satellite Noncommissioned Officer Academy course here Aug. 26.

The course, also known as NCOA, develops tomorrow's senior NCO corps through professional education by instructing in the basic tenets of leadership and management.

"I am absolutely thrilled that this day has arrived, I can't thank you enough for being here," said Commander Chief Master Sgt. Jamie Lawrence. "This will be a marathon, it's not a sprint, and the memories that you make from here on out as professionals will stay with you for a lifetime."

Students enrolled in the course will spend Tuesday and Thursday nights through late November at Pease followed by a two week in-residence assignment at McGhee Tyson ANG Base, Tennessee. Technical sergeants have the option of attending the course in residence, correspondence and by satellite.

Instructors at McGhee Tyson work with trained site facilitators at the unit level to provide the training to the future senior NCOs. The course is broadcast through the Air National Guard's Warrior Network satellite system.

The course is a Community College of the Air Force classroom and students will receive 11 college credits upon completing the course in December.

On hand to welcome the students were numerous senior leaders from the New Hampshire Air National Guard, as well as the 157th Air Refueling Wing.

"On behalf of the New Hampshire Air National Guard, thank you, we have a good history of doing the satellite NCO academy here," said Brig. Gen. Carolyn Protzmann, New Hampshire Air National Guard commander, noting that this is the first course that has been offered to members at Pease in more than 10 years. "I applaud you for taking the time to complete this in this environment."

Col. Paul Hutchinson, 157th Air Refueling Wing commander, also on hand to welcome students, encouraged the future senior enlisted leaders to meet their full potential.

"I would say to this group, look to your left and your right, because you are going to see future chiefs, future wing and state command chiefs of this organization," Hutchinson said. "It's not because you are taking this class, it's because you have shown some energy and passion around professional development and deliberate development of our airmen, and that is what's going to make the difference."

He acknowledged the student's dedication and said the wing was committed to making the current and future classes successful.

"My hats off to you for taking time away from your families and the other things that you could be doing to focus on this important step in your careers," Hutchinson said. "You will be better for having taken the class this way, and as a result, we'll be a better organization for having you."

Senior Master Sgt. Leonard Perkins, the lead site facilitator, believes this is the most difficult of the three PME courses and highlighted what each student will gain from the course upon completion.

"These airmen have volunteered to stretch themselves by stepping outside their comfort zone to complete Satellite NCOA," said Perkins, a longtime instructor and graduate of the same course. "Students are able apply principles they learn in each lesson immediately, providing better leaders for tomorrow with impact today, and a force multiplier for the future with their actions."

Protzmann, who also serves as the deputy adjutant general of the N.H. Air National Guard, encouraged the technical sergeants to work together as one.

"I encourage you to share your thoughts and ideas while in this environment," she added. "Because I think you will get much more out of this working together than trying to do this individually."

In addition, she challenged students to look at this as an opportunity, not checking a box in one's career.

"Don't do this for the check mark, it's not worth it," the general said. "You won't get the fidelity out of this that we really want, do this for the personal growth and development and to grow as a leader in this organization."

Adding that she hopes the students become advocates for enlisted professional military education, remarking that this is the start of other satellite opportunities for enlisted members in the New Hampshire Air National Guard.

For further information on the class or to learn of future offerings, contact the 157th Force Support Squadron Training Section at 603-430-3521.