Army Pilots
U.S. Army Maj. Robert Kneeland, right, the commanding officer of the 45th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kevin W. Jordan, prepare to do a run up on a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, May 17, 2007. Run ups are done to ensure that all equipment and the helicopter itself are properly working before conducting missions.

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Soldiers from 4th Infantry Division led the way in graduating July 30 from the Army's pilot mobile Warrior Leader Course at Fort Carson.

Out of the 115 graduates, 75 belonged to 2nd Brigade Combat Team and 38 came from 3rd BCT.

"You are the sons and daughters of a noble tradition of service and the heirs of a distinguished history of sacrifice," said Command Sgt. Maj. David List, Senior Mission Command, Fort Carson, to the assembled WLC graduates. "Your forebears, noncommissioned officers, have led American Soldiers in countless conflicts."

"But now is your time!" continued List. "This is your place! So prepare yourselves and the Soldiers entrusted to your care for the battles sure to come. Nothing will give you a deeper sense of satisfaction than leading your Soldiers and watching them succeed."

"This is an historical event," said Master Sgt. Heriberto Quintana, part of the pilot WLC noncommissioned officer-in-charge cadre team and chief, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course, Department of Training and Doctrine, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.

The pilot WLC was shortened from the traditional 30 days to 15, explained Quintana. Another key difference was bringing the cadre to the training site, rather than transporting all the students to another location.

Both factors contributed to saving the Army time and money, while still guaranteeing training to standard, continued Quintana. The pilot program also was able to implement new technology.

"One of the things we innovated with this course was the new technology of using the digital deployment training system," said Quintana. "It is a stand-alone satellite system that provided us with internet capabilities and digital classroom technology." The technology also cut days of traditional mail transfer of paperwork.

An added perk for the students was allowing the Soldiers to go home at night, noted Quintana. "They were all motivated and enjoyed the fact that they were able to go home."

Quintana said the ability to train at the units' home post, to go home at night and the shortened course length helps Soldiers spend more quality time with their Families.

"It was nice to see my wife every night," said Spc. Thomas Slease, training NCO, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry (Combined Arms Battalion), 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. He said he and his Family benefited from him staying on post and being able to spend time together.

The 15-day course also allowed him to return sooner to his unit and daily life. He said the course training was beneficial to him as a future NCO, but also very tough and grueling.

The graduating class completed a modified curriculum, said Master Sgt. Victor Garza, part of the WLC noncommissioned officer-in-charge cadre team and chief, WLC, TRADOC, USASMA.

"They endured an Army Physical Fitness Test, classroom instruction with hands-on evaluation, a land navigation exam and a field exercise which consisted of squad operations orders; taking them through day and night zone reconnaissance and point reconnaissance designed to make contact with an opposing force.

"The (students) displayed the ability to plan and prepare a squad and combat through pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections."

Fort Carson supplied assistant instructors for the course, which benefited the cadre, the assistant instructors themselves and the students.

"(The course) was very successful," said Staff Sgt. Danny Lanham, an assistant instructor with the WLC cadre and tank commander, 1st Platoon, Co. D, 1st Battalion, 67th Armor (Combined Arms Battalion). He said that even though the cadre came from different TRADOC schools, they worked well with each other and the condensed curriculum.

He also praised the students for their hard work and diligence. "They adapted well and were successful."

The second WLC at Fort Carson is slated to begin Aug. 6.

"Years from now, when you are old and gray and your children have children of their own, you will be able to look back on this time in your life and proudly say, 'By God, I was a Soldier, a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army!' I can think of no greater honor!" said List.

"Let there be no doubt, you are the greatest noncommissioned officers to walk the battlefield the world has ever known!" said List.

Page last updated Wed August 8th, 2007 at 09:58