The First Army Training Academy held a commencement for students attending the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Battle Staff Noncommissioned Officer Course Video Teleconference Training on March 26. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Karen Sampson / Released).

CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- The First Army Training Academy held a commencement for 15 students attending the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Battle Staff Noncommissioned Officer Course Video Teleconference Training recently. This was the first time the FATA hosted the VTT course.

"This was a pilot class for Camp Shelby utilizing VTT," said Sgt.1st Class Troy D. Batiste, operations enlisted advisor for 2nd Battalion, 410th Field Artillery Regiment. Batiste was also an assistant instructor for the course. "The instructors here were liaisons for instructors at Fort Bliss, Texas."

Video teleconference training provides an cost-effective alternative when traditional training (on-site) is not available.

"The 177th Armor Brigade and the 158th Infantry Brigade provided assistant instructors for the Battle Staff Course to work in conjunction with USASMA primary instructors," explained Sgt. Maj. William D. Williams, operations senior enlisted advisor, 177th Ar. Bde.

Students agreed having on-site instructors was the key to the pilot program's success.

"I think the assistance of the instructors is the key to our success because of their willingness to be there anytime we needed them," Sgt.1st Class Peter J. Novak, intelligence enlisted advisor, 177th Armored Brigade.

According to the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, BSNCOC is the only course offered by the U.S. Army to educate NCO staff members on how to operate as part of a battalion or higher staff. The course instruction concentrates on the battle staff duties and responsibilities of the coordinating and special staff sections, regardless of the NCO's functional area of assignment.

"I felt the Military Decision Making Process unit of the course was the most challenging," said Sgt. 1st Class Katrina F. Crawford, senior human resources enlisted advisor, 3rd Battalion, 346th Regiment.

"There was a lot of information to take in from a three-day block of instruction," said the Abilene, Texas native.

Her classmates agreed.

"I thought the course was challenging," said Novak, a native of Henniker, N.H., said.
The graduates will return to their units having gained a special skill set that adds value to accomplishing the mission, said Batiste. These skills are also helpful in the advancement of their professional military careers, he concluded.

"This was a successful joint venture with the 177th Ar. Bde., and the 158th Inf. Bde," Williams concluded.

First Army Division East, mobilizes, trains, validates and deploys Reserve Component units to support overseas military operations. Along with Reserve component units, the division's trainer/mentors prepare and deploy sailors and airmen, along with selected members of the interagency and intergovernmental departments, to provide trained and ready forces across a full-spectrum of operations to regional combatant commanders worldwide.

First Army ensures mobilization training is relevant, realistic and reflects the most current conditions Soldiers will face in theater. First Army Division East directly supports the Chief of Staff of the Army's priority of providing trained, equipped and ready forces to win the current fight, while maintaining responsiveness for unforeseen contingencies.

Page last updated Thu April 11th, 2013 at 00:00